finding geometry in street photography
All images by Nicole Struppert. Used with permission.
Photographer Nicole Struppert is a photojournalist that loves to shoot street photography because of all the surprising things that seemingly pop up around her. And while others may normally find the scenes mundane, she sees the world in shapes and geometry.
The story of how Nicole got her start is one that many film photographers can relate to: it starts with a roll of film that didn’t turn out and that devastates most shooters. But it eventually blossomed into something that she makes a living off of.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography?
Nicole: As a kid I got a camera and captured nearly everything and everyone. I remember, when I was 20 years old – I spent my summer in Hawaii. My father gave me his Rollei 35 for that trip. It was one of the days you spend in your life which will always be remembered. My friends and I spent a perfect day hiking in the rainforest and swimming in a waterfall – just having the best time of our life. I captured everything to freeze this moment. When I got back home I was totally curious about the images, but the film didn’t wind correctly and I got no image of that certain day. I was so disappointed that I stopped taking pictures for a few years!
Phoblographer: What attracts you to the streets?
Nicole: I love shooting in the streets cause you never know what will happen. When I am on the streets I mostly don’t have any plan or idea what to shoot. I walk around and let myself get inspired and surprised.
There are a few projects I follow – like my “Tales on Shoreditch” project where I document life and street art in Shoreditch / East London or my “urban Zenplicity” project, where I want to find ZEN spaces in urban places. So there is a certain idea what I wanna capture, but I always walk with the flow and try be open to certain situations.
Phoblographer: You’re all about geometry and simple compositions. But combining this with capturing a good scene can be tough. Do you ever sit there and just wait for something to happen?
Nicole: No. Most of the time I am wandering around – I wait until I see something speaks to me. My photographs are all about how I see the world, or incredible experiences I think are worth recording.
When it comes to architectural compositions I look through my viewfinder and try to find unusual perspectives, what no one might have seen. When I capture images of people – I want to get the most personal intimate moment.
Phoblographer: You seem to lean more towards shooting in Black and White. Why is this?
Nicole: Black and White seems natural to me. I also shoot in color – these days it is easier shooting both side by side and compare what fits better to the image. I don’t have a recipe – I decide on the image what might look better. I prefer B&W, but my image “Woman with cigarette“ wouldn’t work in B&W – it is much stronger in color.
Phoblographer: How did you cultivate your sense of composition?
Nicole: It is intuition – everything I capture comes straight from my heart. I get inspired by so many different things. I study a lot of work of other photographers, designers, architects and try to ask myself, what is it what speaks to me? I reflect a lot and use pinterest to pin stuff on my pinboard to get a sense of style I like.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about the gear that you use.
Nicole: I am using various cameras. It depends if I am working on assignment or on personal projects. I prefer working with smaller lighter cameras. I almost shoot in natural light situations and I don’t like cameras which have too many menu functions. That is why I love to work mostly with my Leica M8 and the Fuji x100s. Both cameras are fun to use and focused on the essential.
Both cameras are compact, discreet, intuitive to control – the perfect match to my kind of photography.
But at least a camera is a tool which helps you to transfer your vision. It is like finding the right partner – once you found it – you should keep it. It doesn’t matter what camera / brand you use – the most important thing is that you capture your vision the way you want and that you have fun!
Phoblographer: How did you go from Marketing to photography and making it your living?
Nicole: I worked many years in Marketing and loved my job – but felt a bit tired of the marketing direction in these digital days. The turn around came when I got knocked out by some knee issues and surgeries, which took me out of life for nearly 2 years. I had to learn to walk again twice.
I always dreamed about traveling the world and becoming a photojournalist. But I never thought about making it happen. I had a few friends that always said that I need to do something with my photography – I also studied digital art and always had a deep connection to art, design and architecture. During that time I decided to give photography a try.
Being out of my job for nearly two years made my decision easier. I worked hard to walk again, shot a lot in the streets and worked on my documentary skills. In 2012 I got a contract for a photo agency and my first job was capturing life beside the Olympics in London. Since then I am working as a photojournalist, on assignments, teach and I am in the process to publish my first book “Tales on Shoreditch“.