Alexander Haessner is an award-winning German-born filmmaker and photographer.
His clients love his innovative, restless, outgoing, analytical, and efficient style.
After completing his studies in art, Alexander began his photographic career in Germany and gained a reputation as a fine-art and portrait photographer. Specializing in the Motion Picture Industry, Alexander traveled throughout Europe as a High-Speed Cinematographer. After moving to the United States in 2002, he began fine-tuning his abilities at the renowned Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with Cum Laude, an Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Departmental Award given to students who “make a difference”.
Haessner’s quest to tell stories eventually led him to the fashion film genre where he has carved a niche as an emerging talent whose narratives take precedent over the exhibition of clothes. His photography ranges from high-end advertising and editorials to reportage-style assignments shot throughout the world.
Since 2005, Alexander lived and worked out of Williamsburg, New York, and since 2015, he established a new base in Los Angles, California, to be able to commute between both coasts.
I grew up in a little village in Germany called Mudau. It lays romantically in an area called Odenwald, which translates into ‘the forest of Odin’, and inhabits 2900 souls. Mudau’s prime time was in the 13th Century when the knight and poet Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote his famous book Parzival. In 2005, Mudau had its 1000-year celebration.
Growing up in Mudau meant long commutes due to its isolated location. To get to school was a 3-hour roundtrip. Luckily, my parents loved to travel, and they took me to other small places; these places however were exotic, located on the other side of the world. These yearly excursions rooted a deep desire in following years to travel and explore the world.
But before I got footloose, I had to graduate from High-School, which is very late in Germany, and so I did when I was 21. After school, it is mandatory to go to the Military or do Social Services instead, which I chose to do. I decided to work at the Maternity Ward of the only hospital in the area. During these 15 months, I was part of giving birth to more than 400 babies.
After this amazing experience, I decided to study art in a city called Mannheim. I learned how to draw and to paint, to sculpt and to etch, but most importantly, I learned that this is not what I wanted to do in my professional life!
Since I was 16, I had a deep interest in the photographic process and now I wanted to learn Photography in a professional environment. I started working in an Atelier in Heidelberg. During two years of intense training, ranging from small to large format cameras and lighting, I became fluent in operating gear and executing commissioned and personal assignments.
While I produced a vast amount of images, I played with the idea to extend my photographic endeavor and to experience the world of Motion Picture. I moved to Munich, the Motion Capital of Germany, and started working at a rental house owned by Dedo Weigert. Dedo is an award-winning cameraman who won two Oscars for his invention called the Dedolight. Besides selling and renting that light, Dedo catered the Motion Picture market in Europe with specialized lighting and camera equipment. My immediate interest was the in-house Motion Department for High-Speed Cameras. I started training to become a High-Speed Technician and was employed on set a year after. During 4 years of traveling throughout Europe, I acquired the skills of filmmaking and I realized that I wanted to extend my knowledge and experience even further.
After being on set with Michael Mann and Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki for the film “Ali” in Maputo, Mozambique, I decided to leave Europe for the New World. In 2002, I moved to Santa Barbara in California to study at the renowned Brooks Institute of Photography. Due to my experience in creating pictures, I was advanced into the second year. Even though this new life was a culture shock, I was able to learn English and got to appreciate this new lifestyle. My passion of making pictures received a fundamental makeover and I invested all of my time to study and to learn.
In 2005, I graduated with a Double Major in Cum Laude and with a Departmental Award and moved to New York City to live the dream as an accomplished artist.
The first year in New York was hard; I was on my own and worked freelance as a Photo Assistant and Digital Technician. Digital Photography has just emerged and I was able to be on the first wave of a new way to work. Many photographers did not believe in the change and struggled to switch. By 2007, major photographers have invested in digital workstations and produced digitally. During that time, I assisted some of the most prolific artists and gathered experience on the highest level. 2007 was however overshadowed by a global financial crisis which destroyed a lot of businesses in my field. I was forced to work in a rental company that provided specialized lighting equipment in order to survive on a financial basis. After being an important part of restructuring this company and giving life to a Motion Department and a Production Division, I am still part of that company and collaborate with them since 2006.
Having access to photographic still equipment and motion camera gear, I started creating in both medias. Whenever I photographed a story, I also filmed it. Whenever I filmed a project, I also photographed it. To be able to work in both areas turned my skill-set into an asset. I started working freelance on both sets while producing stories and films on my own.
During working on a prestigious assignment for the New York Times in Los Angles, I met a lady that changed my world again. In 2015, I decided to re-locate after 10 years of New York City to live with her in Los Angeles.
Since 2015, I have an agent that represents me and my work.