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.

Tillmann Franzen left his home Swabia to attend the Folkwang Hochschule (Folkwang University) in Essen, eventually ending up in Düsseldorf where he now resides and works.

“You see what you know” Tillmann Franzen

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.

Part 2 of Bauhaus und Orte der Moderne, for 100 Jahre Bauhaus
Bauhaus und Orte der Moderne, for 100 Jahre Bauhaus
Visiting Rimowa for Lufthansa Exclusive
WDR Orchester at its best!
Suriname for Lufthansa Exclusive
The world of "Maus"
USM en detail for Lufthansa Exclusive
Lufthansa Exclusive
Ballett am Rhein
Imi Knoebel for Monopol
Gira Menschen
brand eins - Portraits
Tea Production
DNVGL - Campaign
Monocle - Cyberdyne
NY Times - Cologne
Rhone Bank Portrait
Deutsche Boerse Magazin
Warsaw Stadion
Giese Art
Dreaming Cars

Tillmann Franzen: Exploring Suriname for Lufthansa Exclusive

Tillmann Franzen: Bauhaus und Orte der Moderne, for 100 Jahre Bauhaus, Part 2

Tillmann Franzen: A visit at Rimowa for Lufthansa Exclusive

Tillmann Franzen: Bauhaus und Orte der Moderne, for 100 Jahre Bauhaus

Tillmann Franzen: WDR Orchestra at its best!

Tillmann Franzen: On tour with "Maus" and WDR

Tillmann Franzen: USM en detail for Lufthansa Exclusive

Tillmann Franzen: On a hunt for Lufthansa Exclusive

Tillmann Franzen: Full power for Kranunion

Tillmann Franzen: Capturing magical ballet moments for DEUTSCHE OPER AM RHEIN 

Tillmann Franzen: Imi Knoebel for Monopol

Tillmann Franzen: Cadillac Cars

A Cadillac is a car that has character, its own profile and charm. It is subtle but prominent and always elegant. You might even start philosophizing that it's a car which finds its matching driver rather than the driver being the one who finds the right car. The situation is similar with Tillmann Franzen's pictures: These are pictures the presence of which you can actually feel. They are exactly the type of pictures that speak a certain language. Thus, the cooperation between Tillmann Franzen and General Motors for their Cadillac's V-Series constitutes a perfect match. In this picture series, he creates a very effective but sober romanticism that gives his pictures these special Franzen-esthetics. Presenting the Cadillac in various everyday situations means presenting its hidden aspects. The not-so-obvious, unobtrusive splendor that yearns for being discovered. This turns Franzen's pictures of the Cadillac CTS-V into a kind of flirt. The way in which he makes an outstanding contribution to the limousine’s status is just wonderful.

Tillmann Franzen: Tea Time in India for Tea Enterprise

The commissioned works of Tillmann Franzen are pictures that carry his very own thumbprint. He has a special talent for finding just the right moment even in his art. What looks like mere coincidence at first sight is in reality an expression of precision and the vision of a goal. With his free work “Tea Enterprise, India”, Tillmann Franzen takes us to his source of inspiration and on a journey through the lens of his camera. We become witness to a perfectly normal work day in a tea manufactory, but with Franzen’s perspective, the scenery seems dreamy. Each picture radiates with an incredible tranquility and we discover what Franzen discovers, we see what seems important to him and we become aware of the small details. The warm colors of his pictures and his reduced use of light sources create a certain magic. Tillmann Franzen’s works make you feel connected to the places depicted.

Tillmann Franzen: Honoring Boewer's objects

It is highly important to have a feeling for forms, colors and light when photographing objects. It is the combination of all these elements that makes for a perfectly staged product shoot. All of this can be easily found in Tillman Franzen’s works, which is why it was a masterstroke by the Boewer company to hire Franzen for honoring the objects of Eric Degenhardt. Degenhardt’s concepts of furniture contradict classic forms we know of tables, chairs and lamps, which makes it a challenge to highlight exactly these peculiarities. This surely must be one of the reasons why the pictures and their configuration and staging are so perfectly adapted for the interior that they make you want to touch and try what you see.

Tillmann Franzen: Peeking into St. Petersburg's Eremitage

There is barely a more qualified photographer for documentaries than Tillmann Franzen. This series, which he created in the Eremitage in St. Petersburg, proves it yet again. Franzen goes on a picturesque voyage that feels just as smooth and quiet as an actual visit to the museum. He subtly takes photographs of the people and the objects that fill the museum with life through the lens of an art lover. Each of the resulting pictures turns the viewer into a fly on the wall of one of the world's biggest museums. You get an exclusive look at the work behind the art. And you realize the effort that the people who restore, exhibit and guard the great masters' works put into it. Franzen makes sure to catch the museum's employees in a certain angle and a great lighting, which works out perfectly and which gives each picture a warm glow. A great picture series that really worships the Eremitage and its employees.

Tillmann Franzen: Gives ELA Container a face

The pictures that Tillmann Franzen took for ELA Container are just as personalized and versatile as the company’s product range. In these pictures, the viewer does not only get an insight into the various departments that belong to such a successful company, but also gets to know the people behind the curtain. Franzen gives a face to each department and thereby turns everyday work into something really special. The portraits that he made are just as personal as they are multifarious. However, they have one thing in common: they show happy employees who seem to be just as comfortable in front of a camera as they are at work. You have never seen container building like this before!

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.