This is part of a weekly interview series with members of Seconds2Real street photography collective, in celebration of their forthcoming exhibition in Berlin in October.
What brought you to doing street photography? How long have you been a street photographer? Why do you love it?
I’ve always been photographing mainly in public space since I’ve started photography around the year 2000. I took me some years to get closer to people but basically it has always been some kind of street photography.
What I like about taking unstaged pictures of people in urban surroundings is to do my very own kind of “personal journalism” about the society we live in and how I see it. I’m working in other photographic generes from time to time but I always return to street photography, also because of the fact that the results can never be planned – I think I just like accidents. And I like taking long walks. I prefer finding pictures that surprise me instead of staging up everthing in advance.
I’m not a professional photographer so fortunately I don’t have to think about profit when I go out photographing, do an exhibition, publish a book or whatever.
What photographers inspire you?
Of course there are some classic photographers we all know like Winogrand, Erwitt, Frank, Parr etc. who definitely have an impact on my work but what might be even more inspiring are contemporary fellow photographers I know in person.
Editing/selecting which images to show is crucial for a street photographer. Has being in a collective helped you with this process?
I have some close photo friends whose work I’ve followed for many years and vice versa. I think it’s always an enrichment to discuss your selections with other people who have a sense of what you are doing, no matter if they are photographers or not. The bigger a project gets the more important it is to look at your work with more than your own two eyes. My book ALEX e. g. was strongly influenced by Andreas Rost who helped me a lot in questions of editing and sequencing the photographs.
In the UK, street photography has become very popular over the last year (the Street Photography Now book published, Format Festival dedicated to street photography, the London Street Photography Festival, your work on show at Look11, and lots of popular workshops). Have you felt that street photography has also been more popular recently in your own country? And do think that street photography will continue to be popular in this way?
I think the term “street photography” is not as fashionable in Germany as it seems to be in the UK today, but I think there is a tendency towards a more authentic photography in general. But anyway – I don’t care too much about trends and labels and there is a lot of photography described as “street photography” that I find quite boring because it’s just repeating the same clischés over and over again. Generally I am interested in strong photography and like photographers who have something to say with their pictures and not just babble around.
Any tips or “words of wisdom” for other street photographers?
Find your own story and speak your own language.
What would be your ideal gear for doing street photography with?
The ideal gear would be a combination of the size and weight of a Lomo LC-A + image quality and handling of a EOS 5D + the high ISO qualitiy of the latest Nikon SLRs.
– Note about the attached images –
In the last few years I concentrated on photographing in the city I live in. These pictures were taken in Berlin in 2010 and 2011.