Seriously? I don’t know. It just happened. I’m the type of guy who stays in the background and watches. I’m looking at people, how they act and move. I don’t really hear them, I just see them. It happened very often that I saw an interesting, funny, sad, or simply beautiful moment. Then I looked around and felt all alone in what just happened. Not even the “main actor(s)” had noticed it. So I told myself: you need a camera!
About 3 years ago I got my first DSLR. It was Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i). I started with simple landscape images. I just wanted to get to know the camera. But I was always interested in city life so I started with urban landscapes, I photographed little streets alleys and everything I liked. One day in December 2012, I saw this little snow-covered street with great lanterns… yeah, I know, pretty cheesy. So I took my camera out: click, click, click. At this moment a man hit the street. Click, click I took more pictures and then I went home. About three months later I realized that I had a great image. It was my first street photograph. Until this time, I did not know who Cartier-Bresson & co. were. Yes, shame on me!!
- Why street photography?
I love these fleeting moments. For me, street photography does not say what is right and what is wrong. Street Photography gives me a free rein. I can feel really free - except for a few rules, but I can live with that ;).
- What and/or who inspires you?
I look at a lot of photos. The internet is a good source but books are better! They give you photographs to touch, it is a very different feeling and different way to look at the photos. Also movies, I love Jim Jarmusch and Stanley Kubrick. They have great composition. Interviews with (even classical) street photographers that you can find on the internet are very helpful for me. Erik Kim’s homepage is great!
- How often do you go out to capture moments?
I’d be lying if I said every day. I try to get out as often as possible and shoot. but I always have my camera with me so… yeah, every day (hahaha)!
- What do you look for when you go out on the streets?
I do not focus on anything particular. I try to keep my mind as free as possible. Right now i‘m “working” on a project - so my eyes are lil’ bit sharper to certain scenes. But if the sun is shining and is low, as it is now, then you know, you get some shadow stories.
- Do you interact with your subjects?
Not really. I make candid photos. Some people ask me why I took a photo and then we start to talk. Some of them like it and some don’t and they want to delete it. But it’s normal. I always try to stay kind, I say thank you and wish a nice day. 90% of my objects do not know that I have photographed them. It is probably because I’m a Cartier-Bresson / Metzker-Type of shooter. I see a scene and wait until something happens.
- How do you challenge yourself to improve on photography?
When I take my dog on a short walk, I always take my camera with me. It is fascinating to see the street in the morning, in the evening, at night, in rain or sunshine, with people or without, and how varied it can be. It helps me to see new things and also to look differently the things I already know. And, of course, I try, like almost everyone, (except Bruce Gilden) to come closer and closer to my objects without making myself noticeable. I try to take each photo so that I do not have to crop it.
- What gear do you use? Philosophy: Digital or analog?
It is a difficult question for me. I use digital camera. Right now I use the Fujifilm x100s and I fell in love with it. Other than the fact that a digital camera is easier to use, you have the whole development process (from taking a photo to printing it) under your control. To have the same control over analog, you need a whole lab, knowledge… and have plenty of time. I also own a Nikon fe2 and I use it from time to time to take some private shots and sometimes street photos. I think I’m not ready for analog. Someday I’ll make more analog photos. For me they have more soul… it’s the same as with vinyl.
- B&W or color? Why?
All of my Tumblr fans know that my work is black and white. I just don’t see any advantage in color over black and white in street photography. It just doesn’t work for me. In black and white photography, the eye is not distracted by the many colors and you can concentrate on the essentials. There are a few color street photos that I like (look at Joel Meyerowitz or Saul Leiter.) Maybe I just can’t handle the color?!
- What about post processing/developing?
It is a very short process. I make photos in RAW. Open them with Photoshop. Convert to black and white and, if it’s necessary, I will change the contrast. Cropping? It’s more like straightening. I print some photos at at least 60x40cm. At the end of the day it has to be a photograph, not a image!
- Any advice from your personal experience?
Its always the same: go out and shoot! Make a lot of photos of things you like. Do it for yourself not for “thumbs up.” Print your photographs like 30x20cm or bigger!