How did you get into street photography?
When I took up photography again 12 years ago or so, I was more into wildlife photography, preferably birds. I realised that I didn’t have the economy to buy the tall lenses I thought was needed. Then I stumbled upon the book Street Seen: The Psychological Gesture in American Photography 1940-1959, with a bundle of great street photographers such as Helen Levitt, Lisette Model, Louis Faurer, and Robert Frank to name a few. Another compilation of street photographers that has inspired me is Street Photography Now.
How would you describe your street photography style?
My street photography style tends to be more and more experimental. I love to take pictures through glass or plastic, anything that’s transparent. I like reflections of all kinds. The human presence may be just a shadow or some distorted silhouette. I don’t mind flares, don’t care much about sharpness. Sometimes I practise some Japanese are-bure-bokeh. I still do classic and more timeless street photography now and then.
Where is your favorite place to shoot and why?
I love New York City and Berlin when it comes to street photography. New York City because this city totally occupies all of your senses – the city that never sleeps. There are people everywhere. Berlin keeps a slower pace but is a city of culture with great street art, often reflecting the ongoing conflict about gentrification.
Are there any photographers you draw inspiration from?
Inspirational photographers for me include Saul Leiter, Elliot Erwitt, W. Eugene Smith, Daido Moriyama, and I like the works of Siegfried Hansen (Hold the Line).
What have been your biggest challenges and how have you overcome them?
When you’re still a beginner, having the guts to photograph people close range is your main challenge. To overcome it, you have to be out in the streets as often as you can and shoot as much as you can. Good street photography is candid, but you could still ask people to do their portrait just for practise and to overcome your shyness.
What have you learned from street photography in general?
First of all: always bring a camera. When I see a great scene in front of me I don’t think twice, I shoot. Good street photography won’t come easy, you have to walk, and walk, and walk… And stay sharp when the decisive moment arrives.