I am so thrilled to announce that my project "ABSTRACT REALITY" just got nominated for the public award of the Photography Award "People & Spaces" of the German Bundesstiftung Baukultur! It would be fantastic if you could vote for me! Just make a cross at no. 36 if you like to support me! THANK YOU!
I am an observer! I love to observe the daily life and shoot pictures being invisible. My goal is getting always the most intimate moment of the people I take photos of, to get powerful images which tell a great story. But how can I have this outcome when shooting a portrait?
A few weeks ago I was in Italy stopping by my photographer friend Luciano Bonacini. I know Luciano for a couple of years now and I am a huge admirer of his photography. He is running his little gallery in Malcesine at Lago di Garda. Lucianos work is presented in diverse international museums and 1993 and 1994 he won the First Prize of best italian Portrait Artist.
Lucianos work is 100% analog, mine 100% digital. We always have a great chat about analog vs. digital. It's always nice seeing him and exchange our ideas & visions on photography.
I mostly end up shooting some portrait shots for him. Same this time! I had my Leica M8 with me with an old 40mm Summicron, which is like a 50mm on the M8. 50mm is not my preferred focal lengths and so it was a bit of work to get everything into the frame the way I wanted.
Shooting a portrait of Luciano made me think about portrait shooting more in detail. As a street photographer or photojournalist I shoot out of the situation. There is no preparing, no set up of the scenery - just a milli second to decide. This is what I love most of my work, that you never know what's gonna happen! Shooting a portrait is totally different. The object (person) knows exactly that there is a camera pointed at themselves - people mostly feel uncomfortable, insecure and put a mask on their face. If this happens - I don't get the shot I want. My goal is ALWAYS to get the person behind their mask!
Working with Luciano is always fun - he is a great teacher, gives lots of advice and has me try to find the right direction of the picture. He is very easy to shoot, knows exactly how to pose, how to look to get the perfect expression out if him.
Here are a few tips he gave me that I would like to share with you:
1. Make the person feel as much comfortable as you can and relax.
2. Trust your guts... Do some research of the person you shoot the portrait of before you start
shooting - but sometimes it also better to trust your guts.
3. Have an idea or vision before you start shooting the person. Some ideas might come while
you are shooting - but sometimes the person is busy and doesn't have enough time and so it
is always good to have an idea what the picture should look like.
4. Communicate with the model and give directions.
... and finally have a good sense of humor. A good laugh always helps!
Here are the shots I took of Luciano.
It's been written a lot about the Leica M8... Bad ISO, problems with the color rendering, really bad screen resolution etc, etc...
There are cameras out on the market which have better ISO, no problems with color rendering, screens with million dots resolution etc. - but are these better cameras? They might have the better technology, but at the end of the day it is just a tool which helps to create the vision of the photographer.
I love my M8 - I call her the "cheap Monochrome". I love the CCD sensor which gives my Black & White images a special character. Till now I haven't had the chance to shoot with the Leica Monochrome - honestly I am very curious - but would the Monochrome for nearly 7000€ make better Black & White pictures than the M8? I am not sure?
At the end of the day it should be a picture which touches the viewer - which gives him a kind of moment - and then it doesn't matter with which camera the image has shot.
All images are taken with the Leica M8 and 40 mm Summicron C (click on the thumbnails to see the images in full resolution)