With 2012 coming to an end, many people are reviewing their achievements. So much happened during this year that I thought it's worth to stop for a moment and remember my personal photographic highlights.
2012 started while being on a trip to Hong Kong. One of the reasons for this trip was to celebrate New Year's Eve with my wife. We spent most of the time on the streets walking around and getting lost. It’s a nice way exploring a new place and Hong Kong is ideal for that with its fusion of British and Chinese culture.
One year ago my shooting style was very random, trying out almost everything: architecture, landscape, portrait, street and flash.
While in Hong Kong, I discovered one of the most interesting photography blogs. Thorsten Overgaard has been putting together some comprehensive articles about photography in general and Leica M9 in particular. There is so much information that it is impossible to read through and digest at once.
I decided to join his Singapore workshop in March. It was the first workshop I ever attended and it changed a lot in me and the way I approach photography.
I started to always wear a camera. Well, almost always, because I don’t find it feasible carrying a camera to my work place. Carrying my camera everywhere gave me many opportunities to take pictures. which I would have missed otherwise.
Then, right after the workshop I have started this web site. “Publish your work, don’t keep it to yourself” was Thorsten's message. I used to share some of my photos on facebook or flickr before, but they don’t offer the right platform for me. My search for a good and affordable all-in-one web site provider ended up at Jimdo. Their templates don’t offer the variety like Wordpress based themes for photographers, however it’s quite easy to create a blog and add galleries.
Another influence came from the “Proximity” exhibition by Eric Kim at the gallery of the Leica Store Singapore.
Eric runs a great Street Photography blog which has been a useful source of information for me during the whole year. One of his articles really made an impact on me: Buy books, not gear. For a fraction of the costs for some new camera equipment you can get a nice book with a collection of master shots. Learning from the masters is a common advice, not only in photography.
Back in Delhi, I looked for more opportunities doing street photography. The general assumption is that India is a great place for photography. However, I find it a bit difficult for various reasons.
Being 1.94m tall, I am attracting attention and can’t blend in. People see me approaching them while I am still 20m away. That makes it almost impossible to take candid shots. Also, it's not that easy for pedestrians walking around. You always have to watch out that you don’t get hit by a moving vehicle. Old Delhi is somewhat easier to walk but even there are bikes and rickshaws trying to make their way through the narrow lanes.
In May I travelled to Beijing for a business trip. Most of the time I was in the office, but I managed to find some time exploring the neighborhood around my hotel. Beijing is also a very fascinating city, you can read more about my impressions in my previous blog post here.
In June, my wife and I spent a week in Paris, mainly to enjoy the Parisian life, exploring the little lanes and sitting in tiny street cafes.
We also stayed a few days in my home town Berlin where I picked up my newly acquired old Summicron-M 50. I have read so much about this lens that I wanted to experience myself the difference of a 1968 lens compared to modern lenses.
Sometime during summer, I discovered Peter Hurley’s work. His style of portraits and the way he communicates with his subjects is quite unique. You can get a glimpse about the way he shoots at the B&H event space on youtube. Or you can order his DVD, that’s what I did.
My 90mm lens and Nikon flashes were living an abandoned life. But adding a remote radio trigger on my M9 and setting up 2 flashes with shoot-through umbrellas brought the action back into my home studio.
In November, we visited Tokyo. I was curious to see and feel this megacity, its mix of deep traditional and modern lifestyle. Street photography is rather easy to do in Tokyo. It’s quite safe to walk around and most people don’t mind getting their picture taken.
Another reason for travelling to Tokyo was to attend a street photography workshop held by Eric Kim and Japan Camera Hunter at the famous Leica Ginza Store. This workshop was a good mix of reviewing portfolios and getting feedback, shooting on the streets and afterwards editing, post-processing and presenting the best shots to all participants.
Well, that was my photography review for 2012. It has been an exciting year for me. I travelled to many new places, learnt a lot about photography, met great people and made new friends, and started with this web site.
I hope that 2013 will bring plenty of opportunities where I can further improve my photography and share the results here.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year.