You’re probably already following him on Instagram, so Runnerwally needs no introduction. The native of Hamburg, Germany who now uses Berlin as his base of operations – and photographic backdrop – is one of the most diverse shooters in the sneaker game. In our current issue of SNEAKERS, we’re bringing you a full-length interview with Runnerwally about his inspirations and creative process. Here are some of the highlights.
When and how did you get started in sneaker photography?
Instagram definitely got me into sneaker photography and photography in general. Around five years ago I downloaded the app and it kinda changed a lot. At that time in Germany there were only two or three guys shooting good images of their kicks on Instagram and I remember thinking, “I’d like to do that!” So I went out and picked up a Canon 450D with the bog standard bundle lens and got to work.
It’s really obvious that you cover a wide range of topics in photography – people, product, city, documentary, and even video. Where does this diversity come from?
I’m always trying to improve my skills to become a more professional photographer in all of the styles you mentioned. For me, photography became more than a passion, it became a living and I want to be the absolute best I can be to always deliver that for the client and especially for myself. I’m very much a perfectionist when it comes to my photography, no matter what the subject and with my performance, I always try to compare my work to guys who I think are the best out there.
Looking at your portfolio, it’s apparent you’re into classics like Air Max or even Jordan 1s but also New Balance, Vans, etc. Have you always been that “open” or did that develop over time as you got older?
Yes of course, I just wear what I like. I think it’s a good thing to know what you like and make your choices based on that. Mostly I’m into the models and brands that captured my imagination as a kid and the sneakers that always got away when you were young that your parents wouldn’t let you have or that you couldn’t quite afford.
What other (sneaker) photographers do you follow? Which ones inspire you?
Let’s talk favorites. Can you please name 5 favorite sneakers you’re really into right now?
My favorites are the Jordan 1 Fragment, Nike Air Force 1 Linen, Asics GT2 Ultra marine, Adidas Yeezy 350 Turtle Dove, and Nike Air Max 1 Atmos Animal.
Do you remember how you got into sneakers in the first place? Was there a particular shoe that sparked your interest?
When I was a kid it was Michael Jordan of course! He always had the freshest looking sneakers which left a big impression. Later when I could afford to buy sneakers on a regular basis, I was massively into Air Maxes and especially the Air Max 1. But the real madness (collecting) began in 2010 when I found out about Ronnie Fieg and his collaborations with Asics for David Z, even before he opened Kith. These shoes were just something else, especially the GT2 “Ultra Marine” and the Gel Lyte III “Mint Leaf”; they are as clean as it gets and unbeaten ‘til today if you ask me.
You obviously shoot the whole time for Overkill store. How did that affect your passion for sneakers, seeing all the new stuff in such a heavy rotation and also hanging out with such an authority like Marc?
To be honest, for me personally it’s getting harder each day to really appreciate the shoes because I see so many of them and I have to take photos of them every day. The variety and quantities that are coming in at Overkill are just insane; it makes it hard to keep the mind fresh and objective, open to let the new diamonds to shine, you know… Marc has also influenced my appreciation for EQT. I learned a lot about the history of EQT and ZX from him and really respect him as a collector, boss and friend.
You’re also an equipment guy, and I’m not talking about EQT. Let’s talk cameras. What system are you working with right now and why?
I recently switched from the Canon 5D Mark III to the Sony A7 R2 because I wasn’t that impressed with the new Canon 5D Mark IV. I wanted an upgrade in terms of image quality (megapixels) and video quality (4K), and the new Canon simply couldn’t deliver that in my opinion.
This issue of SNEAKERS is the “Future Issue” and we’re very much interested in where things are going, and you happen to be a father. How has the little one affected and changed your life so far?
When you have a kid it pretty much changes everything but in good way you never want to miss again. It changed me in that I now aspire to be a better person to set a good example for my kid.
Your wife Rebecca is heavily into sneakers as well and we’ve interviewed her for this magazine before. How can we imagine two sneaker-minded people living in one apartment? Do you ever argue about the space each collection takes?
Haha… we had some minor disagreements in our storage policy for sure, but we actually sold like 25% of our collection because of a lack of storage; it was just too many pairs we hadn’t really been wearing.
What’s one thing you want to accomplish in life?
Being the best father my son could wish for.
“Can’t go wrong if it’s straight from the heart.” That’s a punch line from the Grime MC “Wiley” from his recent album; I find there’s a lot of truth in it. This totally fits my attitude of just being yourself and do what you love.
Thanks for the interview!