ABOUT THE ARTIST
Melanie Hölzl is a nature, travel and people photographer from Munich, Germany.
She was born in Augsburg, studied Japanese and Scandinavian Languages in Tübingen and used to live in various other places for some time. So she had the opportunity to discover a lot of beautiful places and portray a lot of inspiring people since she first started taking photos in 2007 – mostly, but not exclusively, in Southern Germany.
Though the so-called “Zugspitzland” (the alpine scenery around Mountain Zugspitze)
is her most visited place at the moment, you will encounter a lot of pictures from the Swabian Jura (Schwäbische Alb) and the Allgäu because she used to live there once. Of course, those are also the places where her people photography projects were realized! But Germany – and Austria – are not the only places she took photos of. During her trips to Japan, Sardinia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Canary Island of La Palma, many wonderful nature and architecture pictures were created.
MELANIE ABOUT NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
It all started with nature photography in 2007 and it’s been for over 10 years now that I’ve been going on hiking trips almost every weekend. Nature in its diversity is the most beautiful model of all. My eyes keep being filled with wonder every time I roam the mountains and forests and I love and enjoy the calming spirit of lakes, rivers and oceans. My camera is the tool which allows me to show you the world through my eyes; to give you the possibility to look closer or change perspectives and discover things you’ve never seen before. I hope you shudder before the beautiful the way I do!
MELANIE ABOUT PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPHY
People photography is about capturing and conveying emotions. About bringing forth the essence of an individual and creating a story around what’s already there.
Most of the projects I do are highly artistic. I spend a lot of time planning and organizing them and it’s always a lot of work. Being part of such a project means that the model has to be reliable and enthusiastic enough to endure longer than a few weeks until the planning is over and the circumstances are favorable. Therefore, a lot of ideas were born but haven’t succeeded in growing up. There’s this special project I wanted to realize for
eight years now with two different girls, for instance… (laughs)
At this point, I’d like to thank all those models who I worked with successfully: You were wonderful and it was always a lot of fun!
As I resort to non-professional models who have none or little experience, I usually train them in moving correctly. Luckily, I did some model jobs between and 2007 and 2011.
This helps me a lot to understand how it feels to stand at the other side of the camera. People usually get it soon that they don’t need to be afraid. They tend to enjoy themselves while being portrayed – at least, if they don’t have to suffer from the cold, the heat or unpleasant positions!
PS: If you would like to know what it is like to stand in front of my camera, read this blog.
ABOUT THE NAME
SCHWARZ WIE EBENHOLZ is German for “black as ebony” but is actually more than just Snow White’s hair!
This pseudonym was created by combining her first and last name:
Melanie comes from the Greek word for “the dark / black one” and Ebenholz (ebony) derives from Hölzl which contains both “Holz” (wood).
The reference to Snowwhite isn’t unintentional though. The beauty ideal shown in this fairy tale – white as snow, red as blood, black as ebony – complies well with the traditional ideal of female perfection in Japan. So this pseudonym establishes a connection to the Japanese studies she did in university before it all began.
FACTS & FIGURES
- The name SCHWARZ WIE EBENHOLZ existed even before Melanie discovered photography. Back then in 2005, she built her first website featuring other people’s art and displaying her own paintings and poetry (she painted a lot from childhood on and wrote poems and song lyrics since the age of 14).
- Her photographic journey started in Tübingen. Here, she also had her first exhibition between October 2009 and March 2010.
- She took photos for the student newspaper “Kupferblau” in summer term 2008 and did this job voluntarily for three years. She also contributed to several articles of the newspaper “Mindelheimer Zeitung” in summer 2014 before she started her apprenticeship as a photographer (see next).
- A lot is self-taught. But after finishing her studies at university, she actually learned photography by working as an apprentice in a portrait studio for one year and an advertising photography studio for two years. She did also quite a lot of product photography and studio portraits but because of copyright issues those pictures can’t be shown on this website.