Soaking in love and harmony
“THE THREE OF US”, a photo book by Richard Kranzin

Berlin-based artist Richard Kranzin invites us into a dreamy summer romance with his new photo book. He takes us by the hand to escape the big city life into the remoteness of nature.

“No plans, no obligations, no noise, no people.”

“THE THREE OF US” tells a story of three young men exploring the nature and their attraction for each other with all their senses. And just like them, we feel drawn into the scenario while turning the pages of this large scale photo book.

Once again Kranzin manages to show a vulnerable and sensual masculinity. We talked to him about his previous book “NUDES” in 2021, where he stated “I tried to show masculinity as a soft, non-sexualized statement.” We wanted to know how he proceeded in this new project and how his vision came to life.

Richard, since our last interview in 2021, did your perspective on vulnerable masculinity change?

Well, it hasn’t been a long time passing, but I have to say that I noticed the hard shell of stereotypical masculinity even more. There are so many men, who are fighting for their privileges, trying to be alpha male and keep the patriarchy alive. I also see that in connection to the rise of right wing politics in so many countries. It’s very scary, to be honest. To see how willing people are to recklessly fight for traditional gender roles, for patriarchy, for keeping their status. I am happy to live in a city like Berlin, where many kinds of masculinities are accepted. But it’s scary to see what is happening in the world.


How does this effect your artistic work?

I experience it in a small scale, when some young men ruthlessly send me homophobic DMs, just because they can’t deal with the kind of masculinity I’m portraying. This shows me even more how important queer visibility is. I won’t let those comments change my view on intimacy. In fact, it motivates me to become even more clear with the mission that my artworks might have. To spread a form of intimate masculinity into the world that is not putting men on a pedestal like a great Greek soldier, but being a vulnerable human being like everybody else, showing love and sensitivity.


Your new book THE THREE OF US is showing a love triangle between young men. How did you come up with the idea?

The idea actually evolved from a film script that I was writing since 2019. As I told you in the last interview, I wanted to focus on filmmaking a bit more. But since the film funding system in Germany is not very open-minded, the film never had enough budget to be produced. Luckily the publisher Björn Koll from Salzgeber, who I also did my “NUDES” book with, saw potential in it and invited me to create a photo story out of it.
So with some adjustments the story of the three city guys exploring their love in the nature became reality.

How did creating a storytelling photo book feel different from your portrait works?

It certainly was a more focused workflow. Having a full storyline really helps to create a vision of the book, even before it’s made. And also shooting the photos was a very nice and focused experience. I travelled to the countryside, which my three open-minded friends, who were trusting me in creating a sensual artistic piece. We spend a few days together, living in a small cottage in the middle of the forest and really diving into the story of city boys experiencing nature. We didn’t even have signal of our devices, so there were no distractions. Within those days, we created a very close relationship and the trust between each other helped a lot to give my story the needed authenticity. At some point it was more like a documentary then a pre-written storyline. In the end, selecting the photos was great fun and I am super happy with how the book turned out. Doing a portrait book requires way more selectiveness and time, you need to find the central theme first and build the photos around it.


Like in your last book, you chose to work with black&white analog film. Where does your nostalgia for timeless images come from?

I guess I like the slow path of analog photography. And also the more slow lifestyle from the past. It allows you to experience your surrounding with more aware senses. Nowadays everything is fast, digitalized, colorful, loud – I really need something contrary from that to calm down and focus. So using analog film also fit perfectly into the story that the book is telling. It’s a contrast to fast big city life.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I am very happy that this book project is out and I will spend some time with showcasing my artworks in galleries. The first event will be the official book launch party and vernissage of selected prints in The Ballery in Berlin, on November 3rd. Everybody is free to join, get their books signed or also buy my fine art prints. You can find more Information here.

I am just happy to be more present in the real world, showing physical prints and being able to talk with people about my artworks face to face. It’s the first time for me doing that, since my last book came out in the middle of the pandemic.

And of course, I am planning to have another book coming out in the future.