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Interview: Marko Hehl

January 18, 2013 — Eric Böhnisch-Volkmann

Marko Hehl works as a freelance photographer and curator in Germany, European Union. Marko uses analog and digital cameras and both DEVONthink and DEVONagent for his creative work.

Marko Hehl, Photographer and Curator

Marko Hehl works as a freelance photographer in Chemnitz, Germany, European Union.

Marko, photography is an open range. Which fields are you most interested in and why?

My main themes in things photography are people and their relationship to their urban area. I’m influenced by Japanese photographers from the so-called ‘Provoke’ period.

Some important names here are Masahisa Fukase, Daido Moriyama, and the more modern-style Yuichi Hibi and Koji Yamasaki. Why do I love this style? It’s the same reason why the ‘Provoke’ style had been originally brought to life — the revolt against the current photographic language and the goal to add more feeling to the created images. The resulting pictures are grainy, dirty, unsharp, and dark (see, e.g., Masahisa Fukase’s “Karasu (Raven)” pictures). Photography means to me: ‘thought-provoking’.

You are also the curator of photography exhibitions. What kind of exhibitions do you organize and what will visitors see when they come and visit what you display?

Foremost I organize ‘mixed’ exhibitions. I bring photographers from different countries together in one showroom. This way visitors get multiple view points about the same subject. Making an exhibition means meeting people, and that’s the main movement behind organizing an exhibition. You get a lot of questions, you hear a lot of different opinions about the same picture. Also you can motivate people to take a closer look behind the scenes of their daily life and show them that there’s another world beyond their own. The happiest moment for me is when a visitor says: ‘That picture moved me.’

The biggest problem in organizing an exhibition is to find the right artists, to feel what people want to see. In my experience people are attracted by black-and-white film photography. This language has nearly been erased today but is revived more and more. So I have decided to bring more black-and-white photography into the galleries — and visitors come and see them.

How does the Mac help you with your otherwise very analog work? Why a Mac?

The Mac simply works. And it activates my creativity. It’s the whole that is more than the ‘sum of its parts’ that makes it the right machine for me. Also it’s the applications. I need to organize a lot of stuff for my work. I am now using a number of highly useful applications that are only available on the Mac.

Which of our products do you use for your work and how did you organize your stuff before you discovered our products?

At first my entrance to the world of DEVONtechnologies applications was DEVONnote. Later I purchased DEVONagent and DEVONthink Pro Office. Before I jumped onto the DEVONtech bandwagon, I used a lot of CDs, DVDs, and ring binders. A lot of them.

How large is your DEVONthink database? And what kind of data do you store?

I use multiple databases, one for every exhibition. This way I can keep the size of the database at a good level. One database is around 5 GB in size. I use DEVONthink mainly to organize PDF files, high-res pictures, bookmarks, RTF text or Word documents, email, archived web pages, scanned documents like customs papers, etc.

You did a lot of research for your latest exhibition. How did DEVONagent help you here to get the work done?

An example: I needed the birth date of an artist for an exhibition flyer. He was on-location for a photo project and so I could not reach him. So used DEVONagent with an ‘Internet Deep Scan’ and after around twenty minutes it found a little site from a small gallery that displayed the artist’s birth date. I used Google first but it gave no usable results.

Which application features do you value the most, and why do you like them?

I love DEVONagent’s ‘Deep Scan’. I simply don’t have the time to follow every link that Google gives me. And I use the Boolean operators such as ‘near’ so that I can be sure that I get just the results that I am looking for. Finally I like the integrated browser. My main browser is OmniWeb but DEVONagent offers a number of useful search-related tools such as the objects drawer.

The first feature in DEVONthink Pro Office I don’t want to miss is the database search. It’s faster than the CTM FoxTrot search application (which is a benchmark in my eyes). Most of my file management is not done by the Finder but by DEVONthink. I also like that I can freely set up the group structure so that I can decide how to organize my work. The paperless office functions, especially the OCR that I can use also on pictures and PDFs, are extremely useful. Last but not least it’s nicely integrated with DEVONagent and the rest of Mac OS X.

What don’t you like? Which feature do you miss the most?

DEVONthink is now the center of all my projects. So it’s more than just a ‘data collector’. I would be happy to see some project management tools available from inside DEVONthink (like a simple outliner for example) and an even better integration into the Mac OS X environment. DEVONagent could be faster and better integrated. It should be part of Safari’s or OmniWeb’s search field.

Do you have developed usage strategies you want to share with your fellow users?

To bring a project afoot you can use a Moleskine or a suite of various computer programs. To develop a project further and manage it, I use OmniFocus (and for en-route planning my Moleskine). This is where I outline my project, develop ideas, and bring them all together. These outlines I export as OPML file to DEVONthink where they become my group structure. The research work begins and all results are stored in the database together with other related materials. The project develops, in DEVONthink, made from the information found on web with the help of DEVONagent.

And finally: Where can we see your work?

Most of the time I work in Saxony county, Germany. But my hometown is Chemnitz. So I concentrate my efforts at this city. But exciting exhibition requests or photography work I will never decline. Every project is a new challenge that I love to accept.

A photography from Marko’s pinhole photography exhibition in Chemnitz, Germany, European Union.