Behind the Lens - Erik Hölperl

Nov 19, 2013
by Scott Secco  

a few minutes before we left winterberg I lend a 4x bicycle from somebody for half an hour. I think he still doesnt know what I did with the bike. If you see this thanks and I didnt hurt your baby too much. And jes this is a real selfcounterpicture too. more at hoelperl

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
25 years young. Resident of Weimar, Germany. Student at the Bauhaus University, freelance photographer, and videographer.
Likes: Life

How long have you been shooting photos?
I started in 2006 with a heavily used old “Medion” camera from 2003 which was a huge pile of crap with a shutter delay of nearly two seconds. It was an annoying piece of gear but somehow it started my love for photos and it kept the flame burning until I could afford to buy my first DSLR three years later.

Do you ride yourself? How does this affect your images?
Of course! Riding was the reason why I started shooting photos in the first place. It started out just documenting what my friends and I did on our bikes. And like the riding, it progressed over the years.


Do you shoot anything else besides mountain biking?
I try to shoot as many different genres as I can, I shoot skateboard and BMX quite often. I like pretty much everything photography has to offer.

Were you self-taught of have you had any formal training?
I learned pretty much everything on my own. You can find so many good tutorials on the web and, if not, I always had somebody to help me out. Last year I got accepted at the Bauhaus University in Weimar and it is pretty sweet too. I guess everybody has to find his own way of learning something.

One of my Deep Summer Entry Pictures.
nothing better than going up the first time of the day to shred with a good friend.

You’re a fulltime student. Is it difficult balancing school and photography?
Since I study something photo/video related it´s not so hard. The real challenge is to do well in school and progress as a freelancer which is a fulltime job on its own more or less.

Compared to BC or Switzerland, Germany is relatively flat. Is that why you shoot so much street?
No, I would not say this, we might not have the biggest mountains but there is still a very big downhill community. I just find it more exciting to shoot urban environments because of their diversity. Last year I spent the summer filming the European Downhill Cup for IXS and Red Bull and I liked it very much. I was able to hop on a big bike a couple times and learned a lot more about this kind of riding.

Opposite One foot Table over the entrance. selfportrait hoelperl

You shoot more self-portraits than most. Is this because it’s hard finding riders to shoot?
The selfcounter photos are a little hard to explain. It started because I wanted some photos of me riding and I don’t like to keep my friends from riding. So when I take these kind of photos there is generally somebody riding with me.

I also like the mindset of going out there alone, finding something, making it ridable and then trying to do what I imagined it to be in my head. When you end up with a good photo, it is a special kind of feeling that you don’t get when you just take out your camera and snap a photo of somebody else.

What kind of camera do you use? What lenses?
I am currently working with a Canon 5d Mark II and Canon lenses: 14mm, 24mm T/S, 16-35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and a 70-200mm.

Is there any other gear that you use frequently?
I have a very basic flash setup with Phottix triggers and some old Canon flashes as slaves. They work pretty good but I enjoy working with natural light more.

Views: 25,187    Faves: 765    Comments: 77

Views: 10,635    Faves: 146    Comments: 17

One of the best features of a DSLR is the ability to shoot photos and video – which you do. Do you see yourself more as a photographer or filmmaker?
Oh yeah it is a dream come true for me. I never had much money and if those hybrid cameras didn’t exist I would not be able to shoot video today. Most of the video guys moved back to video cameras with large sensors but I cannot really see myself doing the same. The opportunity to have one tool that can do both and is super compact and lightweight is just too exiting. When people ask me what I do I mostly say I am a photographer but in the last two years I’ve had more and more video work.

Have you ever shot on film? If yes, do you miss it?
I started shooting when digital had already overtaken the market. When I started studying at the University I got a little bit into shooting film and I really like the mindset behind it. Seeing the picture as something valuable and not “spray and pray” is what I try to do. There are days where I only shoot ten photos and it feels really good.

printed in Freedombmx 106 behind the scenes video of this rather crazy photoshoot http video 231398 more from my work at hoelperl

What photo are you most proud of? Why?
I am not really sure about it but I think it might be the shot of my friend Maik on an abandoned skyscraper. It was such a hard shot to get and we got in big trouble for being up there. On the other hand we got a story in a BMX magazine and won an international film/photo festival. And there are very few flatland BMX POD’s on Pinkbike so that was really cool too.

Which photographers/filmmakers inspire you?
There are so many: Ian Hylands, James Nachtwey, Joe Simon, Casey Neistat, Ale Di Lullo, Walter Pieringer, Richard Mosse, Oliviero Toscani, Sterling Lorence, and Steve McCurry, just to name a few…


Who are your main clients?
Always changing but I have worked for pretty much every German MTB and a few BMX magazines. Other than that I do a lot of documentary and commercial work for smaller companies. Hopefully there will be more international work in the future because I love traveling and exploring new countries.

Anything else we should know about you?
I am still searching for a company who would like a different kind of team rider that does not wants to do the latest and greatest tricks but is more about style and creativity on his bike.

Selfportrait of me fighting with the beast.

Pinkbike // Airik

Past Photographer Interviews:

Behind the Lens - Steve Lloyd
Behind the Lens - Garrett Grove
Behind the Lens - Mike Zinger
Behind the Lens - Joakim Andreassen
Behind the Lens - John Wellburn
Behind the Lens - Kuba Konwent
Behind the Lens - Bruno Long
Behind the Lens - Christophe Bortels
Behind the Lens - Norbert-Szasz
Behind the Lens - Christoph Laue
Behind the Lens - Lars Scharl
Behind the Lens - Mattias Fredriksson
Behind the Lens - Marc Landry
Behind the Lens - Reuben Krabbe
Behind the Lens - Ale Di Lullo
Behind the Lens - Sebas Romero
Behind the Lens - Sven Martin
Behind the Lens - Baxter Redfern
Behind the Lens - Fraser Britton
Behind the Lens - Margus Riga
Behind the Lens - Justin Brantley
Behind the Lens - Ian Hylands
Behind the Lens - Keith Valentine
Behind the Lens - Thomas Gaffney
Behind the Lens - Jacob Gibbins
Behind the Lens - Eric Palmer


  • 65 1
 How sick is that shot from under the skateboard deck???!!!
  • 19 2
 74 sick. That's how sick
  • 2 69
flag MintsauceSouth (Nov 19, 2013 at 1:58) (Below Threshold)
 Not very Sick. Its a skateboard. I like the pictures with bikes in.
  • 8 1
 Dangerously sick. Danger.
  • 5 62
flag MintsauceSouth (Nov 19, 2013 at 4:00) (Below Threshold)
 my comment did not need neg prop's
  • 5 0
 dont take it personally. if people dont like what you have to say, if they disagree, then they neg prop you. if they agree, if they like what you have to say, they up vote you. every single website with a comment/submission section is based on the fact that this system pushes the best comments to the top.
  • 3 48
flag MintsauceSouth (Nov 19, 2013 at 5:06) (Below Threshold)
 I didn't take it personally.
  • 11 0
 ^ is that why you posted stating that what you wrote doesn't need to be downvoted? That's kinda taking it personally, bud. Wink ))))
  • 20 2
 Do not feed the trolls. thanks.
  • 3 54
flag MintsauceSouth (Nov 19, 2013 at 5:17) (Below Threshold)
 No. I was letting people that did down vote my post that they are wrong and I am right.
  • 6 0
 Bahahaha this guy
  • 3 1
 but... but... how can people not liking your opinion be something you can be wrong about?
  • 1 17
flag MintsauceSouth (Nov 19, 2013 at 14:39) (Below Threshold)
 They don't know what's good for them yet. They and you will learn in time.
  • 2 0
 Dear Erik Hölperl, you definitely have all my respect.
  • 5 5
 Can i please have some Neg Prop's?
  • 2 0
 your wish is my command - downvoted!!!
  • 8 0
 Yeah finally! You earned it buddy!
  • 3 0
 thanks Sören.
  • 7 0
 Really nice work Erik!
  • 2 0
 Thanks Christoph.
  • 5 0
 Definitely nice work. Absolutely unique style and a brilliant eye for composition and proportions. I like his photos a lot.
  • 4 0
 I always love reading through these. Makes me work harder to get better.
  • 3 0
 Sweet Read! Cheers Secco!
  • 2 0
 More of these. It's always eye opening to realize just how much work goes into some of these photos.
  • 2 0
 Top Erik! Hast es verdient, die Bilder sind durchweg der Hammer! Weiter so!
  • 2 0
 Danke Mirsch, muss nächstes jahr mal im Pott vorbeischauen.
  • 1 0
 Liest sich super! Geb vorher Bescheid!!! Smile
  • 1 0
 Noticed Germany is realy clean! Even the graffiti has class. The riders were all smiling no attitudes..........The guy on the red bike with the red helmet. Nice moves.
  • 2 0
 I like A LOT what this guy is doing. Great pics!
  • 1 0
 Is it weird to anyone else that there are two 74 chairs in the chairlift photo?
  • 1 1
 never ridden a chairlift, but im assuming the out of focus chair carries the bikes for the chair in front..
  • 2 0
 Casey Neistat is probably the coolest guy ever... just saying
  • 1 0
 sponsoring wie das möglicherweise?
  • 2 0
 Great shots. The skateboard and shot of the girl under water awesome
  • 1 0
 Thanks Mike. Big fan of your work.
  • 1 0
 is anyone else getting an urge to ride street now...?
  • 1 0
 Nice shots! And also a god write-up. Keep up the good work!
  • 1 0
 supa sick
  • 1 0
 Nice shots !
  • 1 0

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2000 - 2020. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.013612
Mobile Version of Website