In Conversation: Anja Büehrer

Cynthia Haynes

Anja Büehrer spends her days as a theatre lighting technician and her creative time making photographs borne from her own feelings of love, desire, peace, dreams, fear, loneliness, and frailty. The results invite a finish-the-story narrative that we love.

How long have you been behind the camera and what made you first pick one up?

It was on my first trip to Israel several years ago when I realized that I needed—and then bought—a camera. I didn’t have any intention of becoming a photographer or to devote myself more to photography. I just wanted to take a few vacation pictures.

Your work has a softness and yet a sense of mystery; where does that come from?

Maybe I'm a dreamer. I often put my feelings in my photographs, like love, desire, peace, dreams, fear, loneliness, and frailty. I think everyone knows these feelings. Some people sing songs about these feelings, or write poems or draw, but I express them photographically. Some people have said that I’m the photographic equivalent of Caspar David Friedrich, who is considered the most important painter and draftsman of early German romanticism. Of course, I like this comparison very much. I like his romantic paintings, my favourite being The Monk by the Sea. And if I could draw, I would paint images similar to his. 

There's a quality to the settings in your photographs that's both playful and elegant, and occasionally, slightly haunting. What are you looking for as you're setting the scene for your photographs?

I often look for free-standing trees, but it isn’t that easy in and around Berlin. Somehow, I always see single trees when I travel by train and can’t get out, which is completely frustrating! This is the reason why I sometimes cut out trees and place a single tree in another photograph. I also look for good light for silhouettes and for shadows, and I look for reflections of any kind.

Tell us about your creative process. How much of your work is done in the camera and how much in the digital darkroom? Which tools are you using to make these photographs?

It’s different for each photo. There are images that aren’t edited much because some photographs speak for themselves. Sometimes I just add a texture or I may use motion blur. I might simply convert a photo into black and white and crop it. There are others that I edit more, where I create a single image from several of my photos: I put the different photos together and create a story. Thus, this is a difficult question for me to easily answer. For my work, sometimes it’s more post-processing and sometimes it’s more what I am able to paint into the photograph itself with just the camera.

Do you have any advice for photographers who want to photograph in a less tack-sharp focus, more painterly way?

I guess feeling is very important. In recent years I have seen many images that are based on my style, which makes me proud. However, I’ve frequently seen that the style has been copied, but it’s often too heavily edited, which leaves the final photograph without soul. I believe that less is sometimes more. It’s important that you can convey what you want. And above all, you must feel it. Don’t copy it; feel it.

To see more of Anja's work, see her full portfolio and interview in issue 5 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine. 

Anja Bührer is a lighting technician in a Berlin theatre, which is fitting for someone who admittedly has a special weakness for lights, shadows, and reflections: the very things she searches for with her camera. Through photo editing, Anja creates her own worlds: a mixture of dreams and nightmares, of love and loneliness, and of fairy tales and reality. She can be found online at


Anja Büehrer Interview

← Older Post Newer Post →


  • Hi Everyone –
    What is photography about? Pixels and light; mechanical settings and numerical ratios; focal points and depth of field? Of course these are concentric around the necessity for the camera to record the visual world, BUT what is the steel/marble/bronze pillar that supports a remarkable ‘moment’, those moments Anja sees and feels?

    It is the passion of living strongly and with complete joy in the moment of reaching out with the camera with your soul tingling. It is a song of hope in the f-stop and uncertainty in the aperture, but more, so much more, it is our grace and uniqueness in a dark universe. Such intensity of purpose in an image is the strongest testament to the beauty of life and the beauty of who we are, why we are.

    If, as visual interpreters beyond the ‘common and usual’; if we can fling outward the spark of a child’s pure wonderment and send it forth across the dark void of bigotry and soar it above the chasms of misunderstanding bringing it softly to rest in the thoughts of others, then the art of the photograph has merged with the eternal. And, if enough people realize that new, powerful beauty and make it part of their lives, then, we as photographers, have changed the equations of the world and the way things ‘are’, must be and always have been. As artists and lovers of this planet and all its people, this is what we must do.

    And, Anja is DOING IT!!!!

    Sincerely, Steven C. Peery – fine art photographer in New Haven, Ct.

    IMPORTANT PS FOR ANJA: Please, please, if you have not heard of the photographer Ernst Haas, rush to a bookstore and get a copy of his book, ‘The Creation’. This single volume will propel your seeing into a higher orbit of absolute joy!!!!!!!!


Leave a comment

  1. Is Composition Overrated?
  2. The Power of Becoming a Beginner Again
  3. Five Ways to Make Mouth-Watering Food Photographs
  4. Forget Lens Stereotypes
  5. Using Low Dynamic Range to Improve Your Photography
  6. Isolating Your Subject
  7. Choosing Lighting Patterns
  8. Understanding The Stages
  9. Conceptually Speaking: A Word With Claire Rosen
  10. Best Places
  11. Thinking Less Literally
  12. Vision Is Better, Ep. 63
  13. An Iconic Photograph, or a Photographed Icon?
  14. Thinking in Monochrome
  15. Vision Is Better, Ep.62
  16. Vision Is Better, Ep.61
  17. Making the Image: Kathleen Clemons
  18. Night Ranger: A Word With David Kingham
  19. Understanding the Night Sky
  20. Vision Is Better, Ep.60
  21. The Value of Critique
  22. Capturing the Moment
  23. Vision Is Better, Ep.59
  24. Five Key Elements of Food Photography
  25. Using Flash That Doesn't Look Lit
  26. Vision Is Better, Ep.58
  27. Using Flash To Improve Your Photographs
  28. Five Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash
  29. Vision Is Better, Ep.57
  30. Finding Critics
  31. Street Life: A Word With Libby Holmsen
  32. Using the Frame
  33. The Photographer's Tools
  34. Backlight: The Art of Silhouettes
  35. Vision Is Better, Ep.56
  36. Understanding Perspective
  37. Vision Is Better, Ep.55
  38. In Conversation: Sharon Covert
  39. Create Projects + Collaborate
  40. Mirrors or Windows?
  41. 2018 Mentor Series Workshop: Varanasi, India
  42. F/ The Rules
  43. Drawing the Eye With Selective Focus
  44. In Conversation: Willem Wernsen
  45. Exposing for Highlights
  46. Using Fill Light to Create Dramatic Portraits
  47. Cameras Don't Make Photographs
  48. Shooting with Your Final Image in Mind
  49. 10 Ways to Make Better Black and White Photographs
  50. 2018 Maasai Mara Photographic Safari
  51. 2018 Mentor Series Workshop: Lalibela, Ethiopia
  52. Start With the Corners
  53. Creating Painterly Images with Movement and Multiple Exposures
  54. Using the Guided Upright Tool in Lightroom
  55. The Power of Photographing Icons
  56. In Conversation: Susan Burnstine (Part II)
  57. In Conversation: Susan Burnstine (Part I)
  58. Controlling Your Edit with Lightroom's Tone Curve
  59. Making the Image: David duChemin
  60. 3 Ways to Make More Honest Portraits
  61. The Adjective-Driven Approach to Photography
  62. In Conversation: Oded Wagenstein
  63. Making the Zone System Work for You
  64. Ten (More) Ways to Improve Your Craft
  65. Reference View: A New Way to See in the Lightroom Develop Module
  66. In Conversation: Laurent Breillat
  67. The Best 3 Filters for Landscape Photography
  68. Creating Classical Portraits with Simple Lighting
  69. Photographic Processing and Believability
  70. Visual Storytelling: An Introduction
  71. Making the Image: Piet Van den Eynde
  72. In Conversation: Satoki Nagata
  73. Use Repeating Elements for Stronger Images
  74. In Conversation: Kate Densmore
  75. One (More) Reason To Use Adobe's Creative Cloud
  76. Three Ways to Use Backlight
  77. 2017 Rome Mentor Series Workshop
  78. 2017 Venice Mentor Series Workshops
  79. Controlling Foreground to Background Presence
  80. Making the Image: David Adam Edelstein
  81. In Conversation: David Adam Edelstein
  82. Using Contrast for Stronger Images
  83. Three Ways to Make Better Portraits
  84. How to Direct the Eye in Your Photographs
  85. How to Improve Your Street Photography
  86. In Conversation: Piet Van den Eynde
  87. Starting Your Next Personal Project
  88. Five (More) Creative Exercises to Improve Your Photography
  89. Five Creative Exercises to Improve Your Photography
  90. Three (More) Ways To Discover Your Vision
  91. Four Ways to Discover Your Vision (Part I)
  92. Three Ways to Make Stronger Black & White Images in Lightroom
  93. In Conversation: Cristina Mittermeier
  94. How to Add Mood to Infrared (and other) Photographs
  95. In Conversation: Paul Nicklen
  96. Four Ways to Tell Stronger Stories
  97. In Conversation: John Paul Caponigro
  98. Master the Art of Seeing and Improve Your Photography
  99. Adding Light with the Radial Filter in Lightroom
  100. The Power of Abstraction
  101. In Conversation: Anja Büehrer
  102. Five Ways to Add More Depth to Your Portraits
  103. Four Ways to Make Stronger Travel Photographs
  104. In Conversation: Martin Bailey
  105. Learn to Isolate
  106. Gear Is Good
  107. In Conversation: Dave Brosha
  108. For the Love of Your Photographs
  109. Working with Target Collections in Lightroom
  110. Review: Epson P800
  111. Seeing: Receptive & Observant
  112. Better Questions
  113. Siri? Ask Lightroom!
  114. Wake Up.
  115. In Conversation: David Jackson
  116. Photographic Skills: Patience
  117. In Conversation: David duChemin
  118. 2017 Jodhpur Mentoring Workshop
  119. 2017 Maasai Mara Safari
  120. Rome 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  121. Florence 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  122. Venice 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  123. Vision Is Better, Ep.54
  124. Vision Is Better, Ep.53
  125. Vision Is Better, Ep.52
  126. Vision Is Better, Ep.51
  127. Vision Is Better, Ep.50
  128. Vision Is Better, Ep.49
  129. Vision Is Better, Ep.48
  130. Vision Is Better, Ep.47
  131. Vision Is Better, Ep.46
  132. Vision Is Better, Ep.45
  133. Vision Is Better, Ep.44
  134. Vision Is Better, Ep.43
  135. Vision Is Better, Ep.42
  136. Vision Is Better, Ep.41
  137. Vision Is Better, Ep.40
  138. Vision Is Better, Ep.39
  139. Vision Is Better, Ep.38
  140. Vision Is Better, Ep.37
  141. Vision Is Better, Ep.36
  142. Vision Is Better, Ep.35
  143. Vision Is Better, Ep.34
  144. Vision Is Better, Ep.33
  145. Vision Is Better, Ep.32
  146. Vision Is Better, Ep.31
  147. Vision Is Better, Ep.30
  148. Vision Is Better, Ep.29
  149. Vision Is Better, Ep.28
  150. Vision Is Better, Ep.27
  151. Vision Is Better, Ep.26
  152. Vision Is Better, Ep.25
  153. Vision Is Better, Ep.24
  154. Vision Is Better, Ep.23
  155. Vision is Better, Ep.22
  156. Vision is Better, Ep.21
  157. Vision is Better, Ep.20
  158. Vision is Better, Ep.19
  159. Vision is Better, Ep.18
  160. Vision is Better, Ep.17
  161. Vision is Better, Ep.16
  162. Vision is Better, Ep.15
  163. Vision Is Better, Ep.11
  164. Vision Is Better, Ep.10
  165. Vision Is Better, Ep.09
  166. Vision Is Better, Ep.08
  167. Vision Is Better, Ep.07
  168. Vision Is Better, Ep.06
  169. Vision Is Better, Ep.05
  170. Vision Is Better, Ep.04
  171. Vision Is Better, Ep.03
  172. Vision Is Better, Ep.02
  173. Vision Is Better, Ep.01

Related Articles

Related Resources

Adam Blasberg Adobe Alexandre Buisse Andrew S. Gibson Andy Biggs Anja Büehrer Bret Edge Bruce Percy Chris Orwig Claire Rosen Composition Craft & Technique Creative Cloud Creativity Cristina Mittermeier Dave Brosha David Adam Edelstein David duChemin David Kingham Duncan Fawkes Guy Tal Henry Fernando Interview Jason Bradley John Paul Caponigro Kate Densmore Kathleen Clemons Kevin Clark Laurent Breillat Libby Holmsen Lightroom & Photoshop Making the Image Martin Bailey Michael Frye Nathan Wirth Natural Light Oded Wagenstein Paul Nicklen Piet Van den Eynde Podcast Project Nimbus Rafael Rojas Satoki Nagata Sean McCormack Sharon Covert Sherri Koop Simi Jois Street Photography Susan Burnstine Vision is Better Show visual storytelling Willem Wernsen Workshop Younes Bounhar Zone System