Born in Germany in 1967, this talented photographer first began his career in the world of advertising. Soon enough his own artistic sensibilities led him to shoot with his own custom cameras and lenses to bring his own vision to the world of advertising and music. Admiring the works of Ansel Adams and Italian Baroque Painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Neumann’s photography reflects a particular and regular willingness to play with contrasts while obtaining stylized, epic and timeless images. He has done photo shoots with Pelé, Lenny Kravitz, Barry Bonds, Dwight Howard and worked with clients such as Canon, Alfa Romeo and Vogue. In 2015, he shot a series of pictures for his book "Lucha: A Tribute" (edited by Paola González Vargas), a journey into the fascinating world of the famous Luchadores of the Mexican wrestling federation Lucha Libre AAA and Lucha Underground.
THE ESSENTIAL JOURNAL UK - 11/2018
American Valhalla, Andreas NEUMANN
There’s a razor-sharp line between photography and fine art, and German-born visual artist, Andreas Neumann, treads it with a most enviable and inimitable elegance. Neumann’s work betrays a distinctly baroque sensibility: A perpetual power play between light and dark that creates a Caravaggio-esque, chiaroscuro charm. His 2016 book, Lucha: A Tribute, is a vivid journey behind and beyond the mask of the Mexican luchador. Likewise, his 2017 direc- torial debut, American Valhalla, is a uniquely-intimate documentary that captures the near folkloric collaboration of two of the biggest rock acts in modern history: Iggy Pop and Queens of the Stone Age frontman, Josh Homme. Charting the development of Iggy Pop and Josh Homme’s self-funded and secretly-recorded Post Pop Depression album, Neu- mann’s American Valhalla transcends the realms of photography and documentary to achieve something more akin to a collaborative, multimedia art project. ‘After the work with Queens and Iggy Pop, a lot of people assume I’m a band photographer. But it goes a lot further than that. I really couldn’t have done this kind of work with anyone else: It was a journey unique to us and us alone. I was around Queens of the Stone Age for so long that Josh started referring to me as their camera-player.’
The documentary will also form the basis of Neumann’s second book, also titled American Valhalla. It makes perfect sense. After all, if Josh and Iggy provided Post Pop Depression with a sound, it’s safe to say that Neumann gave it a face.
The image of a leather-clad, slick-haired Josh astride his custom-made Falcon motorcycle - pictured above - is proof of the palpable synergy between both artists. By all accounts, it’s an image only Neumann could have taken. Like the folded arms and white t-shirt of a young Marlon Brando or the Baracuta-clad cool of a too-fast-to-live James Dean, Neumann’s vision of Josh in the California heat of the Joshua Tree desert bears all the hallmarks of photography history in the making.
Andreas Neumann’s Lucha: A Tribute, is out now and available at atributelucha.com. His latest book, American Valhalla, will be available soon at americanvalhalla.com You can also check out his other work online at andreasneumannart.com and via his Instagram @neumanvision.
Alongside Neumann’s photos we can see featured shots of Post Pop Depression Drummer and founding member of Indie Rock Band Arctic Monkeys and photographer, Matt Helders. Helders captured the scene from the inside while recording and living for 3 weeks the legendary desert recording studio Rancho de la Luna” “ together with the “band” Iggy Pop , Josh Homme and Dean Fertita in the the recording studio desert of Joshua Tree. Helders shots is stylish documentary B&W using vintage lenses. His shots show a great eye and is capturing always great emotion and story telling detail with great contrasty, sensitivity and human warmth.
During the recording of Post Pop Depression, other than contributing musically I wanted to tell my side of the story with photography. My main intention was to just shoot in a documentary style and to not be in everybody's face with a camera all day, I think that's how I was able to capture intimate moments. First and foremost I was there as the drummer, but I would always have a couple of cameras within reach. At the time, I didn't know what story I was telling, that was the nature of the whole record. We were making a record on the premise that if was bad or we were just not happy with it, nobody would ever hear it and we’d bury it in the desert.
My aim was to simply document the process but with a creative approach, but also economically, not shooting thousands of photos a day, I shoot a lot of film so when I do occasionally use digital, I still have the same approach, as if I only have a limited amount of frames. A place like Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree is full of backdrops, landscapes, beautiful light. For me, it was important to show the fact that we were somewhere so special for this very unique experience.”