Sometimes I turn my head away from happy people, full of envy. How can they be so happy and why I’m not. Where is my happiness, how can I get it back? In those moments I feel like I’m the unhappiest guy on earth.
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.
Last month the French photographer and novelist-to-be Olivier Ficco did an interview with me about street photography on his blog. I had to answer twenty questions and it was “hard work” for me. Never before I had thought about street photography so intensively but I found my point of view. It was a pleasure for me and if you are interested in the results, follow the link to the interview.
The good thing is, it needs not much to do street photography: Open eyes, a camera of any kind, a step out of your apartment and you have your subjects and objects to shoot. Obviously everyone can do this. The bad thing is, everyone does it. Have a look at the social media platforms. Zillions of people are shooting strangers in public areas, labeling their pictures with “street photography” and tagging them with fancy phrases, because it’s “en vogue”. But very often the photographs look like a pure scan of reality – randomly, boring and irrelevant, pimped by post processing. No composition, no idea, no story is behind them. The output seems to be nothing more than digital noise in a community of wannabe-photographers. Maybe that’s why the New York-based Canadian writer and photographer Micheal Ernest Sweet pointed out last year: Street Photography Has No Clothes (referring to the fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”).