What drew you to street photography initially?
I have been into photography since I was a teenager. It began with landscapes, animals, trees, cities and buildings, but always people, too. Of course I started with my family, but there was this interest in people from beginning, depicturing faces which were drawn by life itself. This has gradually become the most interesting subject for me. Nearly 10 years ago, I got more serious about street photography and it’s what fascinates me since.
I saw you shoot mostly in Giessen. What are the pros and cons to shooting in your city?
Well, I live in Giessen and know the city and its streets and squares. But it’s not like I shoot most photos here, Giessen is a small town. You will also find interesting people and situations here, however life is more colorful in big cities. I actually shoot everywhere I go. When I’m on the road, I always have a camera with me.
What person or photographer has had the most influence on your work?
I can name a number of photographers, which mainly come from one of two areas of photography: humanistic photography and reportage photography. Thinking of who influenced me the most I would list Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Sabine Weiss, Henry Cartier-Bressen, Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Vivien Maier, Robert Lebeck, Ryuichi Hirokawa, Thomas Hoepker, Kaku Kurita.
You are a street portrait master. It seems like you get mostly candid, and a few not so candid shots of people. What’s your approach? How do you get such wonderful shots of people just being people?
I see photography as a form of communication and do not take pictures with the telephoto lens, but mostly with focal lengths between 28 and 50 mm. The people usually notice that they are being photographed or were photographed. So I get in contact, often with positive feedback: a smile, a greeting mostly followed by another photo. Negative reactions happen very rarely. If someone reacts strictly negative, I delete the recordings, you just have to accept that.
You have a street photography book out, can you tell us about it?
It was released in 2015 and is called “Hundred Moments of Life – Street Photography” (original in german: “Hundert Momente Leben – Straßenfotografie”) and contains a collection of images taken between 1970 and 2015. It’s available online: www.rsdc.eu/fotobuch.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions of your work?
Yes, in March 2018 there will be another exhibition in Halle (Saale). Translated into English, the title is, “Eyes.View.Light.Image – Street Photographie”.
What has street photography taught you?
I have learned to take a closer look at people, to see how diverse and colorful life is, to respect others. Street photography gives you a new look on the world.