Kim Dalton's picture
Crew Mom

Who's in the Crew? - Spotlight on Chris Marxen

NAME: Chris Marxen

WEBSITE https://headshots-berlin.de/en/
CREW PROFILE https://headshotcrew.com/actorsheadshotsberlin
INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/chris_marxen/
YOUTUBE https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2zNxxa05dGk6O4MOyTE3NQ
FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/chrismarxenheadshotfotograf
LINKEDIN https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-marxen-22a8837b/

WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Berlin/Germany in a central part of town named Friedrichshain. My parents quickly moved away 6 months after I was born (not far only a little across town) so I never was fully aware of being born there. Only after moving back to that same district and opening up my first studio, my parents filled me in and I realized that this was a great coincidence. I opened up a studio only a block away from where I was born. I still love it! Now my studio is in another part of town.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SHOOTING HEADSHOTS?

I started looking into Headshot photography in mid-2014.

WHAT IS YOUR LIGHTING SETUP FOR HEADSHOTS?

I have the original Westcott Peter Hurley Flexkit with two 1x2s and two 1x3 panels daylight balanced. My favorite for women is still the square. I shoot the triangle on location to have the 4th light available as a kick since I always shoot guys with the key+fill+kick setup.

I adjust my lighting for every single person even in 15-minutes-per-person-corporate scenarios. No one-size-fits-all with me. My clients love that individuality and for me, it’s an amazing practice.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR STUDIO. DO YOU OWN IT? RENT IT? OR LIVE IN IT?

Nowadays I rent a studio in a 100-year-old industrial building in a very nice part of town. Great view over a historic airport field used during the cold war to get food into West-Berlin. Stunning location. It’s uncommon to own business space in Berlin. Renting is the way to go.

Before that, I gradually converted my apartment into a studio. Starting from living there alone to getting a roommate and then kindly kicking him out to use his room as a studio and then moving out myself and only coming there to work. Clearly, that was when the business started to grow. For me, that was the lowest risk possible and I would do it like that again and again.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOOT?

Two-part answer. Professionally I shoot a pretty wide range. Once clients trust me they ask me to shoot different things. If I like the client, I do it. Everything business related really. I’ve shot a tone of reports for corporate and start-up branding and branded content, I shot events and conferences as a press photographer and for business clients, product photography, architecture, employer branding stories, I even started shooting fine art for wall art and family portraits for my business clients. Whatever they want me to take on for them, I’m there for them. I never advertise this anywhere. My website is portrait only. All the other stuff happens from client relationships and word of mouth. Plus I do video. Image films, interviews, audition tapes, product video and so on.

The second part is obviously my daily life and my family. I shoot a lot of film, mostly 135 and 120 but also 4x5. I like Kodak Portra and T-MAX but have a ton of stuff in my freezer from Fuji, Ilford, and Fomapan. Film photography is really enjoyable and as one who started photography in the digital age it opened up a new world for me. In the future, I will start offering film shoots to my clients.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER PH AND THE HSC?

Look at my answer in question #2 and take a wild guess. If you don’t know PH and the Crew (by that time PH2PRO) and you are shooting headshots, I can’t imagine you are really serious about it.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO JOIN THE CREW ONCE YOU FOUND IT?

Quite a while. As a German, and with that, by nature pretty hesitant regarding new things, especially when they cost you money, I did EVERYTHING to research before I jumped on board. I’m talking months here. Big shout out to Jeku Arce who even took time to meet up with me IN PERSON so I could bug him with all my questions. I even called other Mentors to dig deeper before joining. Today I feel a little stupid for being THAT hesitant. That would not happen again today. I learned to be decisive from Peter and the crew. Thank you all for that!

WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE WOULD NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU?

Maybe you would guess that but I was terrible in school :D I had to repeat a whole year and was very surprised when I passed graduation (with terrible grades) because I was prepared to redo that year also. Guess they just wanted me gone. When I left school I could not even order a beer in English. I learned English only from the TV show LOST and watching movies in English later. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do and was just doing every job out there. Video store, usher, cashier, entertainer at an Aquarium :D I even ran a tiny hostel on a small greek island, not to mention my music “career” including teaching saxophone.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOU?

There are a lot of ways to say this but in essence, I feel best when treated like we’ve always known each other. If I had the power I would be everybody’s brother, son, or father. We could be ourselves all the time in happy, sad, weak, and strong moments. Being able to share and empathize with others is our greatest gift as humans and it’s being lived way too rarely. That connection is why I photograph people and the reason I love this crew so much.

18 Comments

Chris Marxen's picture
Mentor

Thanks for posting this Mom. For the last photo you must know that these two founded the biggest sextoy company in Germany and the apple she holds is actually a vibrator.
This was shot for a magazine (print) so the negativ space is for the headline and copy. I had 5 minutes to set up the shot and 60 seconds for the shoot.

Rich Soublet's picture
Mentor

As with the rest of the internet, the best information is always in the comments!

Angie Meyer's picture
Protégé

Hey Chris, like the interview, happy to learn more about you! :-)

Jeku Arce's picture
Associate

Glad we got to meet in Germany! I hope one day we get to jam - you on the sax and me on the keyboards!

Chris Marxen's picture
Mentor

For sure bro. I'm still thankful you took the time and gave me a headstart on this awesome journey.

Peter Istvan's picture
Protégé

So great! Awesome Chris!

Rainer Mueller's picture
Protégé

Hey Chris, so cool to read your Story! I remember, you Taking a Headshot from me at Photokina Cologne. First contact with the Headshot Crew. I like your work very much!

Chris Marxen's picture
Mentor

Man, I'm so glad you joined. That was a great Photokina. First time i met Peter in person and he made me a mentor. Good times!

Ernie Morales's picture
Associate

Awesome Chris!

Thorsten Tigges's picture
Protégé

Hi Chris.
I like the interview.
As a German I would like to talk to you personally. I am at the beginning of the Headshots and so I have to learn a lot. Sometimes it is easier to understand in german language.

Chris Marxen's picture
Mentor

You came to the right place. The language gets better over time. If you have trouble understanding something put it in the German Facebook group and we can all help you out.

Olli Tumelius's picture
Associate

Studio envy! What a cool spot. I wish I could go to Berlin. Lots of good food in Friedrichshain!

Chris Marxen's picture
Mentor

Let me know when you can make it.

Josh Line's picture
Associate

My man Chris. One of my favorite people here for many reasons. Love the images and what you have going on for you.

Chris Marxen's picture
Mentor

❤️

Robert de Wit's picture
Associate

Cool studio dude! I love your colours dude, just awesome!

Chris Marxen's picture
Mentor

Thanks Robert, that's great hear :)

Pete Coco's picture
Associate

Awesome, Chris! Your work is amazing and you are such an wonderful mentor and dude!