Young Guns 17: Kevin Krautgartner
By Brett McKenzie on Nov 04, 2019
Shining a light on the amazing class of Young Guns 17
What happens when you take a jury of 60+ respected creatives, more than 500 entries from all over the globe, and mix them all together for two months of serious consideration, debate and decision-making? Eventually you get the winners of Young Guns 17! This year, The One Club for Creativity is honoring a creatively diverse class of 28 winners, including animators, designers, photographers, illustrators, film directors and editors, all of whom came out of this process as true champions of their craft.
Ahead of the Young Guns 17 Ceremony + Party taking place on November 20, we are featuring the various superstars who will be taking the stage that evening.
First up, a big, hearty congratulations on winning YG17! Now how did you first learn about Young Guns?
Honestly, I had only heard about Young Guns this year. Perhaps it never reached my corner of Germany, but it had totally passed me by over the years. For me, it was really exciting to learn of an award which is not exclusively dedicated to photography, but also covers a very wide creative field. As I am also working for several graphic design clients, I was thrilled to see the works of all the past winners and finalists.
I'm glad I discovered Young Guns in time, as this would've been my last year that I was eligible to participate!
Which of the projects that you entered is your personal favorite and why?
That is a tough one! I would have to pick two projects. On one hand, there's the "Tropical Reefs" series. Today, coral reefs are dying at an alarming rate. Coral bleaching is caused by rising water temperatures which, when severe, kills the coral. My images show the beauty of these unique coral and algae systems, and I hope they remind everyone that what we do on land impacts our oceans.
Another very important project for me is the "Tidal Paintings" series. It is really amazing to see the works of art that can be created by nature. The abstract shapes shown on my photos are structures in sand at very low tide at a very remote coastline place.
One of the highlights of entering Young Guns is the ability to submit personal projects alongside professional ones. Did you enter any personal work?
In a sense, all of my projects are personal as well as commercial. As a photographer in the fine art field, I work on projects which in my eyes are worth showing, and most of the time my clients like them as well. This is an excellent interaction.
What was it like to discover that you won YG17?
I was just so overwhelmed! I could already hardly believe that I was among the finalists when I received the announcement about winning. As I saw the work from the other photographers on the finalist list, I honestly did not have much hope for winning.
How would you describe your creative style?
I think that my preference for a high level of detail and quality is a big part of my style. I also think that my graphic design background plays an important role. The image structure and the right color balance are very important parts of my artwork. All of these factors enabled me to quickly develop my own style.
What is your favorite tool when it comes to making what you do, something you’d feel naked without?
This might probably be my medium format camera. The possibility to capture so many details in my work is just amazing, and it has become a key factor for my work. I do not want to miss it anymore.
What do you do when you hit a creative wall, when you are stuck for ideas and solutions?
I think that's a situation which every creative person has to deal with, sooner or later. In such times I try to travel. The best ideas often come when I’m at remote places, away from all of the usual business. Of course, I am also inspired by the work of my photography colleagues.
Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career?
I really like the work from Andreas Gursky, Yann Arthus Bertrand, and Benjamin Everett, just to name a few. Jan Erik Waider is definitely a great artist and a good friend. It means a lot to me to know somebody who shares the same passion!
You're new to the Young Guns family, are there any past winners that you have discovered that you admire?
Name a creative dream that you have yet to fulfill.
For me it has always been a dream to take part in a large nature documentary, like one for National Geographic or the BBC. But for now, I would be really happy to get one or two gallery-representatives to help sell my artwork properly.
Any final thoughts for the Young Guns community?
I am just so excited about the ceremony, to meet all the other great artists! I haven’t been to New York City before, so this is an extra special reason to visit this amazing city!
WORDS FROM THE JURY
>"Seeing is believing, and it isn’t until zooming in that you notice Kevin’s unique aerial perspective, coupled with his abstract and minimal approach. Once you realize the compositions are from such a high altitude, you are immediately drawn in and want to explore every inch as there are hidden elements waiting to be discovered. He has the ability to not only creatively execute a vision but also has the understanding and impact of current climate challenges and future perspectives of solar evaporation. This mindfulness, and his unique use of a drone to capture aerial perspective is what makes him a Young Guns winner."
Young Guns 2 Winner
"I think that Kevin's work is just so visually cool. Forget about any commercial applications, I'd certainly like to have a big print of his on my wall. I love the colors and compositions, and I look forward to seeing more of his work soon, perhaps in a museum or in a campaign for climate change — or again, on my wall!"
The Young Guns 17 Ceremony & Party takes place on Thursday, November 20 in New York City.