Tillmann Franzen began taking photos as a little boy. From this point, he discovered his fascination for converting light and perspectives into images. For his studies, he left his home Swabia to attend the Folkwang Hochschule (Folkwang University) in Essen, eventually ending up in Düsseldorf where he now resides and works.
Tillmann Franzen’s photography impresses through his manifold choice of topics. Instead of focussing on one particular theme, according to the photographer himself, it is “blanks showing a non-verbalised space, oscillating between the projection of the viewer and the portrayed” that appeal to him. The focus hereby lies on what exists behind what you actually see. These can be full stories or simply atmospheres or associations.
Franzen takes the inspiration for his images from his extensive travels, but also from his immediate surroundings, everyday life and studying photography and the arts. His approach is as varied and multiple as his choice of topics. While Franzen likes to plan ahead when it comes to commissions, he prefers to go with the flow in his personal work, with the important element here being the thought and the message.

“You see what you know” Tillmann Franzen

Clients
AD, Audi China, BFS – Bank für Sozialwirtschaft, BMW, brandeins, C & A, Consors Magazin, DKV Euroservice, EON, Form, Glanzstück Magazin, Ipuri Magazin, Knaus Caravans, Kunstrasen Magazin, Kunstsammlung K21, Linde AG, Mazine Streetwear, Monopol, Nigura – a rodenstock company, RWE, Rund Magazin, SPD, Stern, ThyssenKrupp, Wirtschaftswoche etc.

LKA
Deutsche Boerse Magazin
Giese Art
Hongkong
Forstwirtschaft
ICE
Produktion
Kipper
Vorwerk
Dreaming Cars
Leftovers
Stills
Portrait
People
Architecture
Warsaw Stadion
Eurocopter
Landscape

Tillmann Franzen: Gets the photo right, in every detail for DNV GL

What do a Norwegian ad agency, DNV GL, and Tillmann Franzen have in common? No idea? Never mind, because at the beginning of this text, you just don't have the overall picture yet, just like the three players mentioned above. All three pursue a goal: to get the picture right in every detail, all in their own way, and the end result has to be perfect. The result of this effort is an image campaign that skillfully and wittily captures DNV GL’s core concept: to show people and their special efforts in their work environment. For that, Tillmann Franzen traveled to Denmark, Hamburg, India and Shanghai catching motifs in large formats that with minimalistic elegance manage to visualize the various areas where DNV GL is active. Add the ad people’s idea of removing a fragment from each picture and assigning it to individual people visualizes the idea of the entire campaign perfectly — and thus we know the answer to the question posed above. Tillmann Franzen’s photographs are a beautiful contribution to this campaign.

Tillmann Franzen: Teatime at Catherine Palace with the BMW 7 series

Being an enthusiastic and passionate BMW driver himself, Tillmann was more than thrilled when Intersection Magazine invited him to shoot a lovely outdoor story of the newly revamped BMW 7 series. The shoot took him to the Catherine Palace, 25km outside of St Petersburg, where he popped in for some afternoon tea – and with a car like that parked outside the opulent rococo style palace, you might begin to feel more at home there than is appropriate… Officially the fastest limousine in the world, the “make over” of the 7 series is mostly internal and packed full of technical gadgetry, which would make even James Bond’s buddy Q suffer from a serious case of inventors-envy.

Tillmann Franzen: Böwer exclusive furniture collection

For this absolutely gorgeous still life series Tillmann Franzen collaborated very closely together with furniture designer Eric Degenhardt on developing the creative concept of the shoot and it's minimal yet striking set design, allowing some basic structures and materials to appear as honestly as the products themselves. Degenhardt was commissioned by Böwer, a German interiors and furniture company with carpentry history dating back to 1888. The style has evolved with the times, and in this collection you can clearly see Degenhardt's influence by Dieter Rams, which he moves on to a whole new generation. Tillmann's studio lighting is highly considered as is every single angle and those wonderful highlights of smooth turquoise and fiery bright red. I think I have a severe case of furniture envy!

Tillmann Franzen: Industrial landscapes and trucks for Kranunion

Quite simply put: Truck Porn. That’s what this is. Who would have thought you’d find yourself drooling over charcoal ridden, industrial landscape shots of trucks and diggers with great big man-sized wheels – but you do, just like any 5 year old boy would. And Tillmann Franzen, was the lucky lucky boy (SO jealous!!) to go shoot these big boys for the German Kranunion – btw, check out their website, it’s pretty cool – there are Tucans, Pelicans and Condors to be seen amongst other fascinating industrial creatures. What an awesome assignment, and what awesomely gritty shots Tillmann has come back with!

Tillmann Franzen: Mercedes A-Class stylish in AD Magazine

Bordeaux, Rhône, Alsace? No, this is not the South of France. We’re talking Stuttgart here, a little town on the outskirts called Uhlbach to be more precise. And who better to send there to shoot the brand new Mercedes A-Class amongst the cascading vineyards than Mr Tillmann Franzen? Tillmann, who nails pretty much every brief you give him, really enjoyed this shoot, commissioned by AD Magazine to feature the dynamic new design of the A-Class. He even got to meet Mark Fetherston, the man himself responsible for the exterior design of the car. Who would have thought that the otherwise classically minded brand Mercedes could be this stylish and sexy?! Thanks to Mr Fetherston and Mr Franzen we no longer need convincing…

Tillmann Franzen: Dog studies for LESIA veterinary clinic

It's almost impossible to look at Tillmann Franzen's latest shoot without feeling a smile creep across your face. Based in Düsseldorf, LESIA is a newly opened veterinary clinic entirely devoted to animal welfare. The clinic is named after a dog that the staff brought back from the brink of starvation and neglect. You can tell from Franzen's series that every employee puts their heart and soul into the clinic. It's not a job, it's a passion. Molly, a sickly West Highland terrier sits on her doctor’s lap whilst he carefully explains the treatment plan to her owner. In another room, injured Buster is finally getting back on his feet thanks to the encouragement of his physician and the exceptional water therapy facilities at the clinic. Franzen's message is clear: while they’re under the clinic’s care, the biggest problem these dogs will face is having to leave one day!

Tillmann Franzen: Weleda Promotion Campaign

Weleda have always had a very conscious approach when it comes to the production of their skin care range. Jung Von Matt commissioned photographer Tillmann Franzen to shoot a campaign promoting the fact that Weleda harvest organic plants (over 300 species) on their own biodynamic farms. An ideal brief for Franzen, who has always had an insatiable curiosity for what goes on behind the scenes. Early one morning, Franzen photographed the workers as they handpicked each calendula flower in the orange-blossom fields of their farm in Wetzgau. You can almost hear the 'snap' as the flower is carefully removed from its stem. The mist has not yet settled and the morning dew is still fresh in the air. Franzen's series perfectly captures Weleda's trademark wholesome, natural, soothing tone.

Tillmann Franzen: Tita Giese, "The Jungle Queen"

For the past thirty years German landscape architect Tita Giese has been designing gardens for European cities and artists such as Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky. She is known as the artist that works with plants. ZEITmagazin commissioned Tillmann Franzen to photograph the artist in her studio space in Dusseldorf for a feature called ‘The Jungle Queen’. Giese’s garden is a playground for the senses; bamboo, yuccas, rhubarb, confetti and mussel shells are dotted around the grounds with the same intricate precision and eccentricity as the notes in an Erik Satie composition. Franzen shows us what every artist really aspires to deep down: to create a universe out of nothing but their imagination. Giese has the rare privilege of actually living inside her art. Never has anyone seemed more at home.

Tillmann Franzen: Car free motorways for Hochtief

Usually someone to keep both his feet firmly on the ground, Tillmann FRANZEN had the pleasure of taking off in a helicopter for the HOCHTIEF construction company. He managed to create a remarkable photography series on a day, when the A40 motorway (in the Ruhrgebiet near Cologne, Germany) was closed to traffic and instead crowded with pedestrians and bicyclist. While the traffic is virtually non-existent, the people enjoy the day of unaccustomed freedom. His eagle eye also captured the rather unusual geometric forms of the highway itself, the curve patterns, which meander through the landscape like rivers of concrete. Of course, the inevitable onslaught of cars and trucks will soon return to the street and once again turn it into a loud and ugly traffic melting pot. Yet, Franzen's pictures will always remind us that this place was a place of beauty – even if only for one day.

Tillmann Franzen: Tractor series for Architectural Digest

The last few days have been ripe with change: the cold wind has since blown past, the days are slowly becoming longer again and somehow, the days of summer hover in the air like the promise of an expected arrival. To farmers, this means the advent of harvest time. Tillmann FRANZEN's most recent work for ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST magazine captures the emotion and essence of these golden harvest days, by portraying a collection of classic and old tractors. The photographer made sure to photograph the carefully restored machines within their natural surroundings – out on the fields instead of some random and characterless showrooms. When one takes a look at the pictures, the anthropomorphic pride of the tractors seems almost tangible, as they are resting on the fields after a long day of hard work. The motors are still thumping, while they slowly cool down in the tender embrace of the shade and still relish in what they achieved that day, long after the farmer himself has gone to bed.

Tillmann Franzen: Mini visit for MINI magazine

Tillmann FRANZEN’s next port of call is in the MINI Factory where we see a modern Mini being transformed into a racecar. The beauty and confident personality of the Mini is obvious in every one of Franzen’s photos. It almost seems to be aware of the trophies that line the walls of the factory, learning about its pedigree and what it has to aim for once it hits the racetrack. Shot for MINI magazine, it’s an intimate series that will definitely set the hearts of all car enthusiasts racing.

Tillmann Franzen: VOLVO magazine shoot

Tillman FRANZEN’s love of shooting in factories is really starting to pay off. Both of his latest commissions have been set in amongst flying sparks and hissing machinery. The first is a feature for Volvo magazine in the production factory of one of the oldest furniture brands in the world: Thonet. It’s a place with a true sense of heritage and Franzen really brings across the positive energy of a factory in which each piece is hand-crafted.

Tillmann Franzen: SIEDLE annual report

Tillmann FRANZEN photographed the current SIEDLE annual report.

Tillmann Franzen: Deutsche Börse and Haniel annual report

It's evident from Tillmann Franzen's portfolio that he's a lover of unusual places. No surprise then that DEUTSCHE BÖRSE MAGAZIN sent him to pay a visit to a knife factory for one of their features. The joy Franzen finds in opening our eyes to hidden places really shines through in this shoot. Places that hold a secret. Places that we wish we could visit but which will remain elusive to those of us who haven't yet seen Franzen's work. Furthermore, he photographed the most recent annual report for Haniel.

Tillmann Franzen for Monocle Magazine

Tillmann FRANZEN shot the THW and EU-USAR earthquake training for MONOCLE magazine. According to Markus Albers from MONOCLE “THW is a German technical aid charity that dispatch specialists to crisis areas around the world. The majority of their helpers are volunteers and work in countries from Africa to Asia.”

 The team in the photographs has just been working in Japan.