Rainer Viertlböck
Leaf Aptus-II 12R

"I think that most important to my work is the time I dedicate to just “seeing” an object. I walk around it, I look at it; I try to get a feeling for it"

Rainer Viertlböck

Rainer Viertlböck creates truly amazing photography, specializing amongst other areas in architectural shots. Employing a unique process by which he makes use of heavy gear like cranes, lifting platforms and sometimes helicopters, Rainer’s specialized methodology enables him to realize the specific perspectives and views that he seeks to express. “I think that most important to my work is the time I dedicate to just “seeing” an object. I walk around it, I look at it; I try to get a feeling for it, for its perspectives and its dimensions before I start taking my first photographs.”

Rainer uses a Leaf Aptus-II 12R to shoot his architecture work. “I strongly recommend Leaf backs to digital photographers. The backs work flawlessly and are very reliable on site. The resolution of the latest 56MP and 80MP backs is simply outstanding and more than enough for professional needs. Although I often sample my converted files down, I always have the possibility to use the RAWs in full resolution in case I need to crop or want to exhibit really large.” Rainer is also a big fan of Leaf Capture software. “The Leaf Capture 11 software allows me to correct color casts in a fast and intuitive manner. The software here is critical; if there isn’t a well-thought out batch workflow for corrections like the one available on Leaf Capture, the editing process can be very time consuming. If the software doesn’t have a well-thought out batch workflow for this kind of processing, it is a complete deal-breaker for me.”

Specifically, Rainer is a strong proponent of the rotating sensor featured in Leaf Aptus-II 12R and Leaf Aptus-II 10R models. “Even if there may be a back in the market now which looks more modern in the 80mp class, the rotating sensor and the Leaf Capture software are a very strong argument to go on with the Leaf back. This batch workflow which I get in the Leaf Capture 11 provides a logical workflow on location, is intuitive and does not take too much time to use is essential to my work, especially when traveling.”

Aside from his architecture and museum work, Rainer has focused on shooting all of Helmut Jahn’s buildings from 1975 and on, a project encompassing more than 90 shoots around the world. He will complete this project by 2012. Rainer also keeps himself busy working on his personal artistic work, which is dedicated to industrial and environmental photography

Rainer got a late start in photography. He was a 38 years old professional composer and soundtrack producer when he first started getting seriously interested in photography; although once he got started it was difficult to stop him. “Right from the beginning I photographed in a very enthusiastic way, using hundreds and hundreds of rolls of film. I was reading all I could about photography. In the beginning I was shooting artistic and documentary street shots, but very soon I became interested in Industrial photography. Photography was a new experience for me and I immediately obsessed by this new way in which to see the world.”

Even from the early days of his career Rainer was drawn to the larger images produced by medium-format cameras. Initially he worked with a Mamiya C330 and a Leica M4p, later moving on to the M6 and M7. When he began shooting architecture he bought a Linhof Technikardan 4x5” as well as a Linhof Technorama 617. For detail shots he used a Leica R8. “I worked with medium formal nearly from the beginning. I liked the larger view, the larger slides, the discrete way to shoot with the Mamiya twin eye cams… and of course the higher quality the larger film size delivered.”

Rainer was quick to realize the advantages of digital photography, with his switch to digital happening in his film days. As he was largely unsatisfied with the quality of lab scans, Rainer purchased his very own Polaroid 4x5” scanner, but quickly found that this scanner too didn’t meet his high standards. “I bought a second hand drum scanner, a Scanmate 5000.”
It was in these days that Rainer began developing his own unique look. Although the “front-end” of his operation was based on his film captures, his editing was done via the scans he made on his Scanmate 5000.

This process was unique in the manner that it leveraged a digital workflow to edit film captures. The Fuji S2 and shortly afterwards the Kodak 14N represented Rainer’s first forays into the world of digital cameras. “This camera was really quirky, but I found workarounds to master its shortcomings and I got it to deliver very good quality at base ISOs, especially with its unique ISO 6 mode.”

Initially Rainer was fascinated by the new aesthetic options afforded to him by the digital medium. “..What amazed me about digital was that it allowed me to photograph under very different light than film allowed me, or that I got very different results in certain weather conditions. So it was often a purely aesthetic decision, if I used digital or film in those days.”
Hide dock Show dock Back to top