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This year in street photography has been different for me than the three years before. No workshops, no photowalks with others and only a few planned street shootings. Most of the photographs where shot coincidentally, but I trained my skills and had more keepers per shooting. And strolling through the city is a pure joy and a remedy for dark moments.

I’m still interested in candid pictures of strangers but I’m also experimented with geometrical forms. Still processing more photographs in black and white, still digital but with an analog attitude. As a compensation I took a lot of travel and nature photographs.

I like my two mirrorless Fuji cameras but I realized, that I took most of my pics with my smartphone. It’s an unobtrusive, tiny little workhorse with a lab included, available at any time. It’s the easiest way to process my black and white pictures using the app Blackie. Technically spoken I don’t need much more than this combo.

I took part in competitions (like last year), won nothing (like last year) but experiences and got professional feedback. For next year I planned a small exhibition of my work. I’m grown with my pictures and I think, I have a few keepers to show, just for fun.

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Berlin Alexanderplatz, Summer 2017

Very often the Alexanderplatz is overcrowded and has a touch of a funfair. But sometimes you find some tranquillity. I like these pictures obove, they weren’t planned. The moments aren’t really decisive but moments in time. And as you can see: It isn’t important, witch camera do you use. Technically spoken I see no difference between the quality of my iPhone and my mirror less camera. I discovered an interesting black and white photo app called blackie and I love it.

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When Olivier Ficco from strassenfotos asked me that question last year, I couldn’t answer first. “Best memory” isn’t the same like “best picture”. If he had asked for the last, the answer wouldn’t have been much easier. Is it sharp, well composed, vibrant, contrasty? Is it often viewed, liked or commented at my Instagram or Flickr stream? Regardless of the content and the technical quality I like pictures, wich tell a story about the subject or the photographer itself. For every photo I’ve taken on the streets is a story – a memory – behind.

Silhouette | Berlin 2014

The very first picture I’ve taken as a “street photo” was the picture above. A few weeks ago I discovered street photography as an interesting art. I sat on a bench in a park, saw the silhouettes of people and took pictures of them with my smartphone. That was the beginning of a passion.

Sherlock | Berlin 2016

One of my favourites is this Sherlock-Holmes-look-alike man in Berlin-Mitte. It was a cold winter day in 2016. After shooting a few people in candid situations with no keepers, I saw this guy, old-time fashioned like a time-traveller. Unfortunately my camera was in manual mode (zone focus for a different range) and the result is blurry. But for the story isn’t that so important.

Girl with sore feet | Berlin 2015

Maybe the best memory of taking a certain photo is about the picture above: A girl, sitting at a wall with sore feet. It happened during a workshop with Eric Kim in summer 2015. Imagine summer in the city at 37 °C (approx 98 °F) and people have only two options: go crazy or go lazy. My shooting buddy and I had the assignment to approach people and ask them for a portrait. We had to collect ten “yes” and ten “no’s” and walked the streets up and down near Hermannplatz in Berlin-Neukölln. This is a part of the city, that stands for the term “melting pot”. A very young lady entered the street, where people usually are dressed in casual or alternative style. But she wore a loud dress with small squares, red shoes, red handbag, red belt and red lip-gloss. A voice within me whispered: ‘Pic of the day! Ask for permission! Go for it! What can you loose?’ But my partner and I considered, that two sweat-soaked guys with a camera approaching a young lady could have a strange effect. The inner voice teased: ‘Loser!’

Well, there is the phrase, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’.

Damn right, I was so upset! Lucky for me I saw her surprisingly again an hour later with one shoe in a candid situation. I raised my camera up and did some shots without composing. The inner voice teased: ‘Coward!’ But anyways, I got it, I love it and it is one of the most viewed pictures in my photo stream.

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We have a word in German – Weltanschauung – literally for seeing the world, but in the meaning of philosophy of life or ideology. The point is: To know and understand the world, you have to see the world. The best way to do this, is to travel. It’s an expensive affair, but you ‘ve got to spoil yourself sometimes.

Scooter behind Sagrada Familia

Two weeks ago I traveled to Barcelona, three days for exploration, rest and relaxation. To avoid me from getting lost like last year in Prague I carefully planned my trip and wrote a to-do-list, which areas I wanted to visit and shoot. I decided to take a zoom lens instead of a prime lens to be more flexible.

Barri Gòtic

The early bird gets the worm! Take off at 6:35 a.m. in Berlin, landing at 9:00 a.m. in Barcelona. An hour later I entered Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), my destination for the next days.

Barri Gòtic

The city is exiting but this part of the town is magic and was exactly, what I’ve expected. Most of the buildings are from the late 19th century but some are from medieval times. The streets are very small, the buildings are tall and it seems to be a labyrinth. Sometimes I had problems with my navigation-app because of the urban canyon.

First stop was the market La Boqueria near the La Rambla with all kinds of food.

La Boqueria
Cemetery of forgotten books

I’m a fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafón and his novels. He was born in Barcelona and the city is an important part of his stories. I had the idea to visit a few places named in his tetralogy The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There are apps for everything and I’ve found guidewriters. Unfortunately some coordinates in the included GPS guided me wrong, but with excerpts from the novels with the street names I found the places.

The model for the bookstore “Sempere & Sons” (left) and entrance to the fictional Cemetery of Forgotten Books (middle, right) in the novel “La sombra del viento” (The Shadow of the Wind) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Barri Gòtic, Calle de Santa Ana 27 and La Rambla 25

The Rest of the day was like meditation with open eyes. I strolled through the quarter, followed the endless streets, saw interesting people and took pictures.

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A few weeks ago I got a message from Matt.

Hi – my name is Matt, and I work at Artsy. While researching Henri Cartier-Bresson, I found your page: http://fleetingpix.net/blog/color-vs-bw-in-street-photography/.

I am reaching out to certain website and blog owners that publish content in line with our mission to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone. We hope to continue promoting arts education and accessibility with your help.

Our Henri Cartier-Bresson page provides visitors with Cartier-Bresson’s bio, over 100 of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Cartier-Bresson exhibition listings. The page also includes related artists and categories, allowing viewers to discover art beyond our Cartier-Bresson page. We would love to be included as an additional resource for your visitors via a link on your page.

If you are able to add a link to our Cartier-Bresson page, please let me know, and thanks in advance for your consideration.

Best,
Matt

Usually I delete and forget that kind of emails, but Matt was really persistent and asked again. That’s why this time I had a look at his website and was exited about the fundus of artists and images. Especially about Henri Cartier-Bresson – the godfather of street photography – is much to be found. So here is a link to Cartier-Bresson on Artsy to have a look for yourself.

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The first weekend last month in Berlin was springtime for a day or two. The streets, cafés and hotspots where overcrowded with people. A perfect opportunity for taking pictures. So I grabbed my camera, backup-camera, batteries and hit the streets.

15 minutes and 3 tram stations later I put out my camera to start shooting. But what was that? “No card” showed the display. Well, I left the card in the computer, but no problem, I had a card in my backup-camera, I thought. Obviously my little son bought this card for his camera. I decided to shoot the scene with my smartphone and to buy a new card instantly. After that I had a few good opportunities – seeing, anticipating, shooting.

“Low battery” in the display wasn’t a big deal, because I had extra batteries, I thought. “Low battery” and the display turned dark. I’ve forgotten to charge them. With a pounding heart I put the new card in my backup-camera and switched it on. Juice enough for a few shots and I took the chance!

Prepared like a rookie, neglected the basics but fortunately with a few keepers, lucky me.

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Berlin Alexanderplatz | 2017

Sometimes I turn my head away from happy people, full of envy. How can they be so happy and why I’m not. Where is my happiness, how can I get it back? In those moments I feel like I’m the unhappiest guy on earth.

I’ve learned, that we are responsible for our own pursuit of happiness. It is often a question of expectations on ourselves and others, a question of awareness. And happiness and beauty is even in small things. It can be triggered by others but we have to embrace it.

Yesterday I stumbled into that curious scene above: People in masks took their hands, sang a song in an East European language and did a circle dance, literally in the middle of Berlin at Alexanderplatz. They had much fun with it. All of a sudden I caught myself wishing to be a part of that, not singing and dancing but happy for a moment. I smiled and captured that to save this certain feeling.

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Last week I bought a fantastic book with photographs by Fred Herzog. This German-born and Vancouver-based photographer is known for his street photography in color at a time, when mostly black-and-white images where commonly accepted as art. I first came to his work about three years ago and was very impressed by his pictures about daily life in Vancouver. That was the starting point of my interest in street photography. The only book about his work I could find back then was a catalogue from his exhibition at C/O Berlin – used for 300 EUR.

Lucky for me Hatje Cantz published a new book in 2016, called “Fred Herzog – Modern Color” with over 230 images and a few essays about his work. I had to buy this book and was enchanted. But – the reason why I’m writing this – when I was turning page by page, I caught myself a few times pinching and swiping on the paper to zoom in! Definitely a case of mental aberration due to massive touch-device-using.

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“HAUSSE” | Berlin, 2016

When I go thru online street photography galleries, I mostly find titles or image captions only with place and date like “New York, 2016”. Eric Kim told me in a workshop, that this approach is more documentary, chronicle and professional. The idea behind this: A picture in (street) photography has to „speak“ for itself. Instead of finding his own story a certain title could direct a viewer to a story, that only the photographer has seen.

But this is sometimes exactly my purpose. Showing pictures isn’t only showing what I’ve seen but also how I’ve seen, when I hit the release button (or later while editing and processing).

Here are a few examples
“WRONG TURN” | Oderberg, 2015 – “SHERLOCK” | Berlin, 2016

“GONE” | Berlin, 2016

Time and place for reference is boring and different pictures (with different content) could be named equal. Describing the obvious is often redundant. Fancy titles are sometimes embarrassing. But a clever chosen title can help to tell the story.

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2016 was year number three in shooting in the streets for me. Again I discovered and learned a lot. In January I met the famous street photographer Thomas Leuthard at a photo walk in Berlin at -3°C. I took only a few pictures because I had to ask and talk too much, but it was a great experience to meet and talk to other street photographers.

Unfortunately only once I had the chance to do a photo walk with my buddy Olivier Ficco from strassenfotos, but we’re planning a project for next year.

In February I started my website fleetingpix.net to show my pictures in a more personal way and to share my thoughts about street photography.

In May I escaped my surroundings and went on a trip to Prague for (street) photography and had much fun and sore feet.

At the end of summer I couldn’t resist and bought a new camera. Now I have the choice between my smartphone, a camera with a fixed lens and a camera with changeable lenses. It’s pure luxury and I like it.

I took part in competitions, won nothing but experiences and professional feedback, which pushed me forward in seeing and editing.

And finally I reached my first “explored” photos at Flickr with more than 10k views and nearly 300 likes.

It was a good year.

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