05.03.2021 Philipp Rathmer

Travel photography with the FUJIFILM GFX100S

Philipp Rathmer

Philipp Rathmer was born in Düsseldorf in 1968. This is also where he honed his photographic craftsmanship. Philipp lived in New York from 1993 through 1995, where he worked as Hannes Schmid’s assistant, among other things. Since then he resides in Hamburg, from where he ventures out on international assignments.
Besides advertising and editorial work, he has photographed a long list of celebrities (Lady Gaga, Christoph Walz, Juliette Lewis, Jogi Löw, Luciano Pavarotti, Tim Mälzer, Daniel Brühl, Vanessa Mae, Nick Carter, Jay-Z, Michael and Ralf Schumacher, Nico Rosberg …). In all of his work he always attempts to place the emphasis on the natural ways and peculiarities of his photographic subjects in his own special way.
While his work is very diverse it always retains its own style. Rathmer loves to play with light and to embark on new paths time and again. Philipp is a member of the BFF (Bund Freischaffender Foto-Designer – Association of Freelance Photo Designers).
Individual art shows:
2011 Chances, Hear the World, Galerie Flo Peters Hamburg
2005 Boxer Kids Cuba, Gastraum 4x Hamburg
2004 Nebenbei (By the Way), Gastraum 4x Hamburg
Group art shows:
2011 BFF Aufschlag, Westwerk, Hamburg
2010 On the Road, Cap San Diego, Hamburg
2009 Beautiful New World, BFF, Stuttgart
2009 Hommage to Irving Penn, Galerie Hiltawsky, Berlin
2008 Private, Museum für Arbeit Hamburg
2007 Berühmt (Famous), Martin-Gropius_Bau Berlin
2006 Berühmt (Famous), Gruner & Jahr Pressehaus, Hamburg
2005 Wangenrot (Blush), Kunsthaus Hamburg
2003 Thai Cong, My Parents, Klaus Engelhorn Wien
2002 Thai Cong, My Parents, Kunsthaus, Hamburg
2002 Beat It 2, Kampnagel, Hamburg

My name is Philipp Rathmer. For more than 25 years, I have been a portrait and lifestyle photographer. For my clients, I realize photo shoots around the globe. On my journeys, I do of course always create exciting photos for my portfolio or my own exhibits. No matter where I travel, the camera is always at my side.  

GFX100S & GF80mmF1.7 R WR

For a project featuring the mirrorless medium format camera FUJIFILM GFX100S, I chose the Hamburg harbor as my destination. The Port of Hamburg is Europe’s third largest harbor. It is located in the heart of the city and boasts a gigantic container terminal. In times like these, when there are very few tourists in town, I could take pictures at the harbor that would otherwise be impossible to shoot.  

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Unique highlights of the GFX100S are the large 102 megapixel sensor and the built-in image stabilizer. To put them through an intense test, I selected various motifs in the harbor area, which I wanted to photograph under very different lighting and shooting conditions: the container terminal before sunrise, the loading docks in the daylight and the “Speicherstadt” in the sunset.  

Small and lightweight with a large sensor

It is remarkable how small and lightweight the GFX100S is in comparison to other medium format cameras. For me it is important not to have to lug around too much weight when I am on the road. The size and the weight of the GFX100S are almost ideal.

GFX100S &50mmF3.5 R LM WR

Thanks to the fact that I have been working with FUJIFILM cameras for years, it was easy for me to shoot with the new camera. Everything is in the right place. The menu is easy to understand. Personally, I always compile my favorite functions under “my Menu,” so that I have instant and quick access to these functions.

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Obviously, on my trips, I like having a zoom lens to stay flexible. However, for portraits I love to use the FUJINON GF50mm and the FUJINON GF80mm. I choose the GF50mm for its incredible lightweight and compact design. The GF80mm is my choice because with an aperture of F1.7, it is so light strong and allows me to take portraits even in situations that would normally require extra lighting.  

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

In these situations, the built-in image stabilizer is an optimum tool. It gives me up to 6 additional aperture steps. This is extremely helpful when I take a quick picture on a boat, from a shaky car or the like. Even in lighting situations that required me setting up a tripod in the past, I can now photograph right from my hand without any problems.  

The combination of fast lenses, low noise at high ISO rates plus the sensor stabilizer pay off in these cases. For instance, in the old Elbtunnel, where I took pictures of elevators in  ISO 3200, 1/40s exposure and F4 aperture from my hand. The result is impressive.  

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

I do not have to further process the images I get from my GFX100S. I like the camera’s film simulation a lot and I am always pleased that the images look so analog. Now the new “Nostalgic Negative” film simulation is available. I love this look.  Fantastic colors and beautiful warm skin tones.  

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

The autofocus of the GFX100S is fast and super concise. Even if the aperture is open and there is hardly any depth sharpness left, the sharpness hits exactly to the point. This also works in difficult situations, for instance if I photograph a portrait through a windowpane. Once again, the auto focus, despite the reflections, adjusts concisely to my chosen point.

GFX100S & GF80mmF1.7 R WR

My conclusions about the GFX100S

It is amazing to travel with such a small and lightweight camera and to still be able to use the large sensor with more than 100 mega pixels. This gives me the opportunity to use excerpts later without having to worry about a decline in image quality. I can print out huge images for my exhibits.

The combination of fast lenses and the large sensor enables me to create a wonderful bokeh. Despite the sharpness of the backgrounds, no details are lost. In my eyes, the GFX is the ideal camera for travel and mobile work. It is lightweight and perfectly fits into the hand. Thanks to the large sensor, I do not have to give up anything.