May 1, 2012 ART/PHOTOGRAPHY , Interviews












Achim Koerfer is an artist rich in talent, a passion glowing through his own multi layered images, photography experimental in design. Interwoven are images from his latest project focusing on time and the Maya calendar, more of which can be seen via the link at the bottom of the page.

Achim has also collaborated with various charitable organisations and we are proud to highlight this important work also.


TM : Achim, you are an artist who addresses subjects topical and from the heart, clear in your commitment and belief. Tell us about the young photographer in you, when you got started and knew this was your calling.

AK : I have been taking photographs since my early childhood, from the age of 8. In the course of the years I came to develop my own style and the certainty that photography was my calling. In the course of experimentation I came across my present signature technique of multiple exposures composed in situ on film using a conventional single-lens camera. The first one I used was my Father’s, by the way. 



TM : Your multi layered technique to produce one final image is very effective, a mirrored reflex on a singular theme, digitally compositing an electric blend and depth, exposing lights unseen through its own expressed parallelism. I think of the great photographer Jerry Uelsmann who adopted similar layered techniques. Was he or any others a major influence on your work, and do you recall the exact moment of realisation when that first final image became clear through this method ?

AK : I do not recall the exact moment when this technique of mine crystallized. There was this continuum of photography, this run of images shot from my childhood till early adulthood and at some point I realized I was taking only multiple exposures, the technique having, at some point, become second nature to me.

I use only conventional, non-digital cameras as I insist on using film on which I compose my multiple exposures, sometimes relying on pure chance, sometimes superimposing images by design, thus attaining a unique shift of perspective breaking with traditional ways of seeing. 

I now recall that the first multiple exposures were unintentional – accidental, actually. I was pleasantly surprised by the resulting images and decided to work in this vein, thus I came upon my signature style. The resulting pictures, which today are thought to have the sleek and exciting look of digitally composited images, are in reality non-digital multiple exposures composed directly on film. The shots are made free-hand style, i.e. without a tripod, which is quite a challenging but liberating proposition. I must memorize the first motif with all its details before searching for a second motif to overlay it with. Holding the first motif in my mind, including the way it is framed and cropped in the viewfinder, I aim at the second motif I now actually see through the viewfinder and superimpose the mental image of the first motif onto that in the hope that when I press the shutter, I will capture the layered image I have in mind on film! This technique, whenever successfully accomplished, results in a harmonious composition operating on multiple levels of perception and visualization.

I hadn’t heard of Jerry Uelsman until you mentioned him. I find his work excellent. I do not find my inspiration in the work of other photographers, but in the rich diversity of nature and of life. It is also the human condition which moves me to expose burning social and environmental concerns in the hope of eliciting some reflection on these issues from the beholders of my compositions.














TM : Each of your projects are humanistic in approach, the latest ‘Dictatorial Time’ highlighting human lives’ domination from its seeming omnipotence, despotic in its own right. At a time when technology moves forward and life’s pace quickens in its obediency, it is important to take a step back to measure and manage time to suit the individual and all.  With this in mind, how do you see a way forward for us all, your fundamentals, not only through art, but life in general ?  You mention the BIG Basic Income Guarantee idea supported by many and am interested on your views on how this can bring about change also.

AK : In my photo sequences, I expose urgently topical issues in terms of intriguing, strikingly colored imagery. I hope to use these images to put across my message, to give people food for thought and encourage them to reflect upon the issues involved with the help of art.

 My new photo sequence DICTATORIAL TIME „The Omnipotence of Time“ deals with the limited time we are given on earth and how we spend it – or, more exactly, are compelled to spend it. The vast majority of humanity is forced to spend most of its time performing activities imposed upon them by a small and powerful minority who profits disproportionately. Loss of employment – meaning loss of livelihood, subsistence, is misused to extort compliance. Humanity is sacrificed to making a financial profit for a few. One way out of the resulting imminent social conflict in the BIG, the Basic Income Guarantee, which, once in place, will liberate the people from this oppression and empower them to realize their potential and get involved in social causes. 















TM : Forever making its presence felt throughout ‘Dictatorial Time’ is the Maya calendar, no more timely than the present, prophesised to end on 21st December 2012.  Numerology plays a major part within, its own cyclic repetition defining configurations from which divinations are made and used. A belief from this is of a present past, that there had been other existences before us, destroyed by gods, a tradition thereby reinvented.  Life affords us glimpses of a past, another means of seeing. What are your thoughts on this, and do you see your own layered technique for art highlighting this ? Art is interpreted by the individual, so do you believe there is any unconscious intent to show that distant within it also?

AK : Each individual has his own perception of time and reality and is isolated one from the other. I believe Art can build a bridge between people – even if only for tenuous, one-time moments of lucid community. It is in the evanescently fleeting nature of time that we can only ever experience time in the present moment. Outside of this moment there is only intangible memory behind us, or intangible visions before. Only Art has the power to capture these moments and preserve them for posterity. Many vanished cultures exist only through what remains or has been handed down of their art. Sometimes there is enough to reconstruct these vanished civilizations quite extensively. The same will apply to our present civilization one day in the distant future. For this reason I, too, wish that my art survive and afford future generations a view of our culture and history. In the sense that my multiple exposures superimpose two moments of time upon each other, one can consider the resulting motif to actually be a bridge in time between two or three separate moments depending on the number of exposures involved in each motif. 

In answer to your question about the role of technology in art, I am quite aware of the fact that my art, photography, exists only thanks to technological advancement. Art is where you find it – regardless of the involvement or absence of technical aids, regardless of the medium, as long as it offers a though-provoking, novel take on reality. I’m sure that if I had lived in pre-technological times, I should certainly have found some other medium to express myself artistically, even if completely devoid of technology.


















TM : Your creation of ‘Unikatfabrik’ in 2006 is in itself ingenious, its neologistical intent clear, immediately provoking another way of thinking; neoelemental in design. Tell us about its inception, importance in society and meaning to you.

AK : The neologism ‘unikatfabrik’ is a contradiction in terms – as I intended it to be upon coining it. I combined the German words “Unikat” – single edition; ‘unique’ item, and “Fabrik” – factory, implying mass production. It is pushing the semantic envelope. I intended it to pose a challenge to break with traditional ways of seeing and thinking and to view the world in a new light. It is a thought-provoking invitation directed at society-at-large to deal with burning issues with the aid of a shift of perspective.


















TM : You have previously undertaken joint projects with various bodies, from ART4Aid on behalf of UNICEF, the EU funded EQUAL and most recently Streetkids International a non profit organisation helping children in Africa.  Is this something you have always held within and in what ways do you feel art can benefit others through this ?

AK : I am very grateful for the opportunity to employ my art in aid of a good cause with the help of various relief agencies. In this way, I hope to do my share and make a difference. It is a matter of deep personal commitment to place my art in the service of humanitarian efforts, especially where people are given aid to help themselves. For this reason I prefer projects which involve educational and training programs for children. I feel that it is the mission of art to help inform and educate people.

















TM : In terms of a future beyond the 21st December 2012, how do you see not only your own but art in general progressing. Technology naturally offers us different ways to explore, experiment and express ourselves but do you see this as a step away from true art and our own natural instinct to ?  As for your own future projects, I am sure you will continue to highlight those urgent and important. In this respect, do you have any ideas for such and in particular future charitable collaborations ?

AK : It is especially in these times of transition and social and cultural upheaval that art can make a difference when it comes to countering social injustice. I expect art to become more and more a medium of expression for many people involved in bringing a change for the better such as for the activists of the Occupy and Anonymous Movements whose protests are quite creative in putting their message across. I intend to continue working with humanitarian organisations which advocate human and animal rights and which stand against social injustice.




You will find the complete photo sequence and further details on the website which has an English-language mirror. You are most welcome to post comments about this topic or the motifs of the photo sequence at




 Michael Organ

Art, Film and Photography Editor

Email: [email protected]


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