Aaron Deppe is a photographer currently based and inspired by his native capital – Berlin. His work centers quizzical characters, their anatomies behind closed doors, or on daily strolls through a city rich in culture, technology, and creativity. Deppe’s photographs embody everyday Berlin life through the figures that flow through its arteries and supply a rapid pulse.
Playing in the corn and canola fields of northern Germany, Deppe grew and harbored great curiosity towards his surroundings and the makings of his own mind.
“I recently looked at my old school reports… they all have a little note from my teacher in it saying that I daydream a lot… the truth to this day – I’m a dreamer, I always was. Back then I tried to get rid of it but now I couldn’t live without this little gift… These days I can focus on something and completely space out the next minute which comes quite handy if you work in the creative field. I’m also an observer – I love these little everyday moments that no one seems to notice. That’s what I like about living in the city. There are so many little stories I witness by just walking through my neighborhood. I do that quite often: listen to Spotify as a soundtrack and observe the streets of Berlin.”
At a young age, Deppe discovered an old wooden cupboard in his home, filled with film cameras, thus his fascination with photography unfolded.
“I remember looking through the viewfinder of the camera and imagining what I saw was not real but a movie.”
Before school he would dedicate 10-20 minutes to flipping through photo books in awe at the emotions a still image could evoke. Some photos displayed beautiful imagery, others horrifying documentation. What stuck with Deppe was the impact they left grounded in him, and the ability to share a story through a still image.
“You have to tell a story or provoke an emotion with just one frame rather than doing it in a movie scene or perhaps a whole movie. Even though I love movies to this day this complexity fascinates me.”
During childhood, Deppe also lost his mother to cancer. He describes great losses such as his to either destroy completely or build you up from scratch. The duality of both forces are intertwined, like yin and yang, these themes remain present in Deppe’s work today.
A dreamer and an observer still, Deppe continues to pick up details from things unnoticed. He is a “color nerd” who fancies deep tones and cinematographic looks. His work has a combination of intense expressions, arched bodies, raw and deep tones. The artist’s subjects hold an all-human reality, whether in meditative stance or poetic tangles. Deppe’s cathexis produces a new reality through his images, one of daydreams colliding eloquently with the fervent streets he calls home.
Deppe’s inspiration ranges broadly between films, paintings, music, his own life, to artists such as Kate Bellm, Helmut Newton, Maria Kreyn, Ren Hang, Alex Prager, Tyler Shields, and Edward Hopper. In his own words, Deppe describes the outcome of his muses and dreams:
“My work is all about being alone in a rather sad way or being on your own in a liberated and good way. It’s also about relationships, desire, love, sexuality, being lost and I like to provoke this here and there. Its quite personal for me but I think everyone can relate to it.”
All Images by Aaron Deppe.
Text by Pallavi Shankar.
Curated and Edited by Romina Bertetti.