2 am. Light still burns in Lukas Hämmerle's photo studio in Lustenau. Wide masonry, high ceilings, headlights and tripods - this is the artistic environment of exceptional photographer Hämmerle. Cigarette stumps and an empty cup of coffee are distributed at the desk. With a concentrated gaze and sparkling eyes, Lukas still sits at the computer late at night and edits his masterpieces. "Gimme the night" is written in thick letters on his DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE shirt. No motto could be more appropriate for the passionate photographer and rebel from Lustenau.
Lukas Hämmerle has been a member of the DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE CREW since the very first hour. His friendship with founder Mike Feurstein, his penchant for damn strong coffee - and his unbeatable eye when it comes to photographing extraordinary settings. This brought him to the founding team of DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE. And there he still sits today and has a bearing, especially when it comes to the graphical appearance of this fuckin strong coffee.
In addition to his exceptional photographic talent, Lukas Hämmerle has one thing in particular: a true passion for the black brew. DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE changed his life, definitely. Always on the hunt for the perfect light, the photographer's alarm clock goes off very, very early. One hour before sunrise, it is important to have the perfect setting for a photo shoot. Impossible without his “Breakfast for Champions”, as he lovingly calls it: coffee and cigarettes. And in these quiet moments, surrounded by the darkness and the silence of daybreak, a lot goes through his head. A cup of hot, strong coffee from the portafilter machine in your hand - and your thoughts gallop. Ideas for the upcoming photo sessions arise, the course of the day is graphically sketched in Lukas' head, the focus, as always, is entirely on the perfect shot, on the pictures that say more than 1000 words.
Due to stress and an intensive professional lifestyle, the photographer used to often "devour" between 10 and 15 coffees a day. With DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE that has completely changed. Three to a maximum of four cups of damn strong coffee have the same effect. According to Hämmerle, they play a "morning, a midday and a bridging role". Coffee is simply part of providing pure energy straight away. To overcome tiredness and usually the best artistic ideas come with a cup of coffee in hand.
Although the photographer's focus is on the damn strong effect of the black gold, taste also plays a role. Because there are many strong beans. But only very few blends like DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE, which combines pure adrenaline with a fine taste. "DOAC is a damn hard mix, not a pussy roast," he says with a serious expression. And another point is important to the eccentric: milk must never be mixed with the black brew. “Never!” Lukas Hämmerle insists emphatically. Black, for example with sugar - but by no means mixed with the white liquid. “The color alone tells you: Don't do it,” says the photographer, who of course always thinks in terms of colors and combinations.
Lukas Hämmerle also brings a philosophical side to light when he compares the DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE with an anchor. “The coffee gives me stability, no matter what the situation,” says Hämmerle. He also associates fond memories with the black beans, such as the time in Vietnam when he worked with his wife. There, coffee is almost synonymous with a drug - a very, very intense experience. Drunk with condensed milk (the only milk exception!) the coffee there ensures a real “WOHOOO!”.
Another incident in connection with the DOAC is probably the day on which Lukas received and installed his portafilter machine. As befits a decent “Lustenauer”, he was then probably too stingy to throw away the test coffees. And since it took 15 attempts to set the mill perfectly, he experienced an active day with 15 DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEES intus. From tremors to hours of insomnia: a day he will probably never forget. So be careful, you shouldn't overdo it with this damn strong coffee!
When asked about his connection to DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE, the Lustenauer immediately thought of his true friendship with founder Mike Feurstein. Madness and a lot of work at the same time. Emotions, disputes and a deep connection. Discussions and consensus, abysmal hatred and, at the same time, exultant love. And one thing is always the focus: “DEAD OR ALIVE COFFEE is big cinema!”. Fun and lifestyle - and DOING things at the same time, not just talking about them. No "we could, you should, maybe..." No, things get done, we deliver! Some may say that it could be done differently. And the fact is: many don't even do it! At DOAC there is “never nothing”, something is always happening. And that's how it has to be!
For the future, Lukas Hämmerle would like to see a real cafe called “DEAD OR ALIVE” open. Preferably in downtown Los Angeles. Where you find one thing: uncompromisingly strong, black coffee. Maybe with sugar and a glass of water. Plain and simple, all about the coffee. And of course the artist has the next photo masterpieces in mind: for example in a research station in Antarctica, in the pathology department in Feldkirch hospital - or in a cave owned by an Indian guru. One thing is clear: with an artist like Lukas Hämmerle on the crew, it will definitely never be boring for the next few months and years. Madness knows no bounds. Live like you fuckin mean it. And there is probably no better example than photographer and DOAC crew member Lukas Hämmerle.