Entrevista com Thomas Leuthard para o fotografiaderua.com. Para a versão portuguesa clique na opção “Translate” nos três pontinhos do menu.
1. Can you tell us the story of how you first got started in street photography?
This is a bit difficult to answer. I did not start it from one day to another. I think my interest in street photography started in summer 2008 when I was working for 3.5 weeks at the Olympics in Beijing.
There I realised what is going on on the streets and how diverse humanity can be. It took me another year to really start of my street photography career.
2. How long have you been shooting street photography and what were some obstacles or difficulties that you encountered?
I officially started in May 2009 when I decided to shoot with an 85mm (127.5mm) lens on the streets only. Soon I realised that this focal length is far too long and that I come closer and closer to my subject. The biggest difficulties where critics from other people that street is not right and that you are intimidating strangers on the street. But I kept doing what I liked and I knew it was the right way.
3. What do you wish to convey to your viewers through your photography?
They should see the interestingness of the life of ordinary people on the streets. They should see a piece of art which could be a composition of geometry and humanity. In the end I just want to make something beautiful that shows the life of our century in an accessible way to everyone who’s interested.
4. When you are out on the streets taking photos, what inspires you to capture a certain scene or image?
This is something I cannot really explain, as it often happens subconsciously. I see an interesting face or some lines which makes a good background. Then I just take the shot as it is working for me.
Sometimes I only see on the computer that this was even better than seen on the street.
5. Who are some photographers that you look up to, and how have they affected your work?
It’s difficult to say, but I like the eye of Siegfried Hansen from Hamburg, Germany and the creativity from Nils Riedweg, a photographer of my hometown. Looking through the stream of Nils some weeks ago I have realised that I was heavily affected and inspired by his work. Although this was not happening on purpose, but since I highly admire his way of composing his work.
6. Describe the favorite street photograph you’ve taken. When and where did you take the photo, and why is it special to you?
There are several photos that are in some way special to me. Often there is the story how they were created, but this is only known to me. My best photograph is “Hitchcock” which was taken in Hamburg at the Landungsbrücken S-Bahn station. I saw the guy coming out to the light and was sure that I had to take that photo. I took several shots and was afraid that he could say something. Today I would not even care and keep shooting. It was one of the last shots I took that weekend and soon turned out that it was a masterpiece.
7. What type of camera and which lenses do you use for your street photography? How do you use your equipment to capture your amazing images?
I’m using an Olympus OM-D camera which has a micro 4/3 sensor (crop 2.0) and is very compact. I take most of my shots with a 20mm (40mm) lens. For portraits, details and other stuff I also use a 45mm (90mm) lens.
8. What tips would you give to aspiring other street photographers in the community?
That they should stay away of the whole gear race and should take as many photographs as possible with the camera you have. Start with a 50mm prime lens to learn how to compose and frame your shots. You can learn street photography only by shooting a lot. No workshop, no book, no camera can let you shoot better. You have to get the experience yourself. Maybe you should find someone who can help you analyse your photos to improve them.
9. Thank you for this fantastic interview. Are there any final comments that you would like to give?
If you like street photography, keep doing it and do it in the way you like it. No matter what other people say and negative feedback you get. Only if you keep doing what you do and what you like, you will get better.
10. What are your future projects?
There is a new street photography collective which I founded to blog about street photography. It’s called Eye5 and we try to write an article every day to keep people learning from our experience. You can find it on www.eye5.org.