The Leopold Museum, Vienna

The Gustav Klimt images were the first thing that seriously caught my imagination, a few minutes after we’d arrived. It was their square format mostly. I find I can get confidence as a photographer from looking at paintings by great artists, and ideas about composition too. In this case the square format made me think in the direction of using a Hasselblad, a box pinhole and perhaps even a Polaroid.

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His ‘Death and Life’ made us think of Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’, and from that an idea came forth about portraying death at the centre of the circle instead of at the edges.

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Passing a model of Klimt’s studio, we came to a huge window looking out over the Museum Quarter…

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…and then, having seen a few more nice paintings…

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…began our favourite part of the museum that featured long display cases showing portrait studio shots of Viennese society from last century. There was some brilliant, superbly lit photography on show.

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The ground floor had a large collection of Egon Schiele, I found this the most inspirational collection of all the paintings in the Leopold. He often gave no nod at all to traditional composition, he just painted what was real to him. I mean, not modern, contrived real, but really real. His girlfriend, himself, his idea of death, the changing times and the seasons.

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A few minutes with Schiele and you’ll be laughing at every page of the British Journal of Photography, Black and White photography and the rest of them. It’ll be bad for your career, and great for your photography.

To discover more, please visit http://www.leopoldmuseum.org/en

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