Posts Tagged vienna

Seconds2Real: Heiko Menze

“Show “the whole man” in his environment.” Heiko Menze

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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? Why do you love it?

I was always interested in observing things – how people are moving in the streets, how they fit in their environment. This fascinates me. I began to photograph years ago – first in Bremen, my hometown, later in Vienna, where I am living since 2006. A city like Vienna is perfect in reflecting both old and modern times, matching harmoniously.

How do you pay the bills?

Well …. not via photography. 😉

Which photographers inspire you?

In 2004 I attended a big Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition in Berlin. This fascinated me a lot: how it is possible to take such photos with only a small and simple camera with one prime lens, all in black and white? every photo simply perfect both in scene and composition?
It is this classical style of “street photography” (a term HCB would never have used) that is inspiring me: for example the work of Inge Morath, Robert Lebeck, Erich Lessing, Willy Ronis, Robert Doisneau, Robert Frank, René Burri – or the Viennese Franz Hubmann, Harry Weber.

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Editing/selecting which images to show is crucial for a street photographer. Has being in a collective helped you with this process?

I must admit – no. Our group seconds2real contains, like all groups, of very different photographers, different in photographic style and in their views, and moreover, we live (partly) in different places. It is simply quite difficult to join for some greater project.

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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 you think that street photography will continue to be popular in this way?

No, I don’t think so. Street photography, the classical one (“you shoot what you see”), today becomes more and more a field of “art” where the photos do no longer show what the photographer has seen, but are somehow constructed. Photo editing with hard contrasts, HDR and cropping is en vogue today. Why is that so? I think because every streeter wants to get “eye catcher” – forgetting that street photography shows nothing else than real life, and real life is mostly not eye-catching. 😉 As a result, many “street” photos resemble each other in scenes and style. No wonder many viewers feel more and more bored, also by the mass of photos published in social groups like flickr
But I am sure the classical form of street photography, the reduction to the real street scene, will come back one day – when everyone is tired of “eye-catchers”. As an encouraging sign I see young people buying used analogue cameras and bw films to experience the reduction of view.

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Any tips or “words of wisdom” for other street photographers?

My tip to any streeter would be: respect for other people, respect for their private zone. This means – do not approach too much, neither physically nor by shooting with long tele lens. Just respect people’s privacy. Do not show them in situations that would debase them in any aspect, for example, making them ridiculous.
Another aspect: A person does not only contain of a head (this would be a portrait, though, and not street photography), and not only of feet. There might be situations where a torso or a head makes a perfect street scene – but these are rather exceptional cases. Show “the whole man” in his environment.

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What would be your ideal gear for doing street photography with?

Oh – my cameras are changing occasionally 😉 – but one camera will always remain: the one HCB used: Leica M, analogue. Though using digital equipment (DSLR, point & shoot) too I am still dedicated to film, which, together with my own darkroom, a professional scanner and printer, is representing exactly my idea of street photography.

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All images © Heiko Menze

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Seconds2Real: Elisabeth Schuh

“I love to walk around and observe. And sometimes there are these magic moments, that only I can see and nobody else. That’s fascinating to me. Other people and me, we are in the same time on the same place, but however we are in different worlds.” Elisabeth Schuh

eschuh_boy_with_hat
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.

I started about 15 years ago with photographing in cities. My job as a journalist made me be more reflective about photography. Finally, my actual approach to street photography was very much influenced by the options of the internet.

I consider myself as a street photographer since around 2006.

I love to walk around and observe. And sometimes there are these magic moments, that only I can see and nobody else. That’s fascinating to me. Other people and me, we are in the same time on the same place, but however we are in different worlds.
eschuh_pillowfight
There was a pillowfight flashmob in the city of Vienna. I took this picture at the end of the fight. The square was completely full of feathers and the “fighters” were exhausted. This guy layed down in a bed of feathers, before they began to clean up. I like it, if viewers are confused about what‘s going on in my pictures. I seldom declare my captures, so viewers can create their own stories about it.

Which photographers inspire you?

There are so many good street photographers with completely different styles. I am – amongst others – really impressed about the work of Trent Parke, Alex Webb and Jens Olof Lasthein. Also the website of the in-public group has always been a great inspiration for me.
eschuh_masked_boy
This one I took on a carnival move. To me, carnival always has something weird, especially children with masks. Here I like the contrast between the laughing women and the strong face of the masked boy, who looks directly into my camera.

Editing/selecting which images to show is crucial for a street photographer. Has being in a collective helped you with this process?

Sometimes it helps to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion. But I’m very self-critical. So when I’m 100 % sure about my selction, I do not change my mind.

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?
Last question: I hope so! Here in Vienna we‘re a little bit jealous about how things developed in the UK. In Austria we definitly have a huge need to catch up. In particular contemporary ‘young’ street photography is completely underrepresentated. I notice, that here in Austria street photography has become popular among photographers, but has marginal significance for gallery owners and museums.

eschuh_zoo_lion
I often visit the zoo, it’s always good for getting some captures. On my zoo visits I frequently notice, that people are more interested in imitations of animals than in the real ones. I have not found an explanation for this yet.

<bAny tips or "words of wisdom" for other street photographers?

On the street I always try to give the impression, that I’m just an amateur snapshooter. So people don’t take me seriously and I can do my work untroubled.

What would be your ideal gear for doing street photography with?
An unremarkable outfit, good shoes and – as much as possible – a small, lightweight but fast camera with a 28 or 35 mm lens.

eschuh_boy_with_hat
I explored this nice place in the city of Vienna some months ago. I was fascinated about the light and the red colour everywhere. So I decided to wait for a moment for something to happen. Minutes later, a boy with an chequered hat came around and gave me a sceptic look. Thank you litte unknown boy for this picture!

All images used in this interview: © Elisabeth Schuh, 2011
http://www.elisabeth-schuh.com

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Seconds2Real Exhibition Exclusive Preview

seconds2real
Seconds2Real European Street Photography Collective are exhibiting work at Bold Street Coffee, Liverpool, from 15th June until 13th July, 2011.

To celebrate the exhibition, ST84Photo blog will be bringing you exclusive interviews and images with the photographers running throughout the exhibition. ST84Photo will also be documenting the installation and opening of the exhibition, to give those of you who can’t make it in person a taste of the brilliant atmosphere and images on display.

To get the ball rolling, this post would like to introduce the cast of exhibiting photographers:

Kay von Aspern – Vienna
Elisabeth Schuh – Vienna
Guido Steenkamp – Berlin
Thorsten Strasas – Berlin
Natalie Opocensky – Vienna
Alexander Magedler – Vienna
Heiko Menze – Vienna
Mario Cuic – Munich
Christian Reister – Berlin
Andreas Stelter – Minden

Locations were the images were made are:
Bratislava
Istanbul
Budapest
Berlin
Hamburg
Vienna
Munich
Tokyo
Firenze
Pitigliano

The time frame the images were made during is:
2002-2011

Interviews will be coming to ST84Photo blog soon, so watch this space!
Update: Interviews with the Seconds2Real photographers will start appearing on ST84Photo from Thursday 16th June, 2011, so watch this space!

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