Last week I bought a fantastic book with photographs by Fred Herzog. This German-born and Vancouver-based photographer is known for his street photography in color at a time, when mostly black-and-white images where commonly accepted as art. I first came to his work about three years ago and was very impressed by his pictures about daily life in Vancouver.
2016 was year number three in shooting in the streets for me. Again I discovered and learned a lot. In January I met the famous street photographer Thomas Leuthard at a photo walk in Berlin at -3°C. I took only a few pictures because I had to ask and talk too much, but it was a great experience to meet and talk to other street photographers.
When I go thru online street photography galleries, I mostly find titles or image captions only with place and date like “New York, 2016”. Eric Kim told me in a workshop, that this approach is more documentary, chronicle and professional. The idea behind this: A picture in (street) photography has to „speak“ for itself. Instead of finding his own story a certain title could direct a viewer to a story, that only the photographer has seen.
You can find tons of suggestions about camera gear in the internet, especially for street photographers. The more I do and practice street photography, the more I realize, that literally any kind of camera is suitable for street photography, even smartphones. It is less a question of brand or specification than more of purpose and practice.
The British dancer and choreographer Royston Maldoom exposes the idea of life as an ongoing, constant challenge.
„Don’t sit still, don’t except, move on, look for the next thing, look for the next moment. Don’t necessarily plan it but be ready for it, be open for it.“
(Interview in the movie „Rhythm is it“)
There are similarities to my approach to life as well as to street photography. In the same summer when I discovered street photography, I got – due to my own fault and personal circumstances – a “total eclipse of the heart” and saw my life and future pitch black. There seemed to be no way out and I realized, that I had to recalibrate a few things in my life to solve the problem. It took me months to get over it. I followed the suggestion: “Go creative!”
Life is in color (mostly), seeing is in color, actual cameras and smartphones capture fantastic colors. Why the hack do a huge amount of street photographers turn their photographs from color to black and white?
Sometimes you have to make a decision: Shaken or stirred, your place or mine, analog or digital. Do you really have to or boils it down to the same thing?
Millions of photographs floating the internet every day. Due to smartphones and other digital devices is it so easy to take pictures and to share them with the world that apparently everybody does it. It seems to be very hard for an average photographer to generate attention to the crowd and even harder to stand out of the banality and mediocrity in social networks. Maybe that’s why a few guys withdraw into niches.
Sometimes I need a distance
I love my family, my friends and my work, but sometimes I need a distance – literally, to keep the balance right. That’s why I went to Prague by bus last week, found an inexpensive hotel in the city center and had three days for shooting.
I haven’t been there for over 30 years and nearly all my recollections of the city where lost. The only thing I could remember was the medieval “Charles Bridge” (see picture above).
In preparation for the travel I downloaded an app called Fripito, witch is a digital travel/photo guide. I bought the “Enchanting Prague” by Michal Vitasek per in-app purchase. Now I had a guide for the best places with fantastic views of Prague in my pocket. Not only that, combined with the navigation inside the app I could reach all the places from every starting point I wanted.