© Martin U Waltz
Street Photography in Germany: Who is out there? Who are the movers and shakers in the German street photography scene. Meet 30 street photographers, 3 street photography collectives and 1 street photography journal.
The German Street Photography Scene: 30 Photographers
I was interested in showcasing photographers that
- active street photographers
- live in Germany or are German
- with a solid body of street photographic work
- well connected in the national and / or international street photography scene
I’m grateful for all the recommendations I received by fellow street photographers. These tips were a great help establishing the list. All shortcomings in the final selection lie solely in my responsibility.
3 German Street Photography Collectives and one Street Photography Magazine
Many thanks to Alex Pfeiffer, Bernd Schäfers, Birka Widmaier, Chris “Candid” Schirrmacher, Christian Reister, Efi Logginou, Fabian Schreyer, Frank Silberbach, Guido Steenkamp, Hans Severin, Holger Biermann, Kay von Aspern, Kuba Jasionek, Marco Larousse, Marga van den Meydenberg, Mario Cuic, Max Slobodda, Michael “Monty” May, Oliver Krumes, Paulus Ponizak, Rainer Nowotny, Roland Groebe, Sebastian Jacobitz, Siegfried Hansen, Slander Khlif, Steffi Löffler, Torsten Köster, Torsten Schumann, Ying Tang, Daniel Nide (Soul of Hamburg) and Reiner Girsch (Soul of Street) for contributing to this article.
Editorial note: The list of German street photographers is in alphabetical order on a first names basis. The original article and most text contributions were written in German. I translated everything at a later stage, so all language hiccups are entirely my fault.
“Street photography to me is a constant challenge adapting to an unpredictable and ever changing environment. I see my work as an artistic approach to social documentation of of a fast changing society”
“Photography is some sort of meditation for me. Being with the moment as it unfolds, just observing, not judging. I try to shoot anything that catches my interest, either emotionally or intellectually. I like to document these moments discretely without interfering or changing them.
I prefer to work alone or with one or two good friends. The buzz and hype about street photography is rather a turn off for me.”
“Street photography to me is to be with a moment. Seeing the beautiful or the weird and in my case photographing humans that interest me. I consider myself as an observer with photography being the meditation allowing me to be in this very moment.
There is no need for clear cut rules. We all see the world differently and I simply follow my instincts.”
Chris “Candid” Schirrmacher
“Street photography to me is a challenge, tension and relaxation at the same time. You never know, what’s waiting around the next corner. It’s all speed, predicting what’s going happen. And of course being able to deal with people. For me a smile goes a long way when it to connecting with people.”
“In recent years I have mostly done night photography. Black and white, blurry, grainy, raw. The Berlin nightlife and and what remains of the night. Very direct without any fuzz. Sometimes I go out on purpose to shoot or I just have my little cam with me when roaming the streets, cruising bars and clubs.”
Christian Reister is a an ex-member of the photography collectives Seconds2Real and neunplus, founder and curator of Fenster61 and a blogger at obstundmuse.com
„I’m an actress currently living in Berlin. I discovered photography for years ago in Greece as a means to express myself artistically. It is my new passion ever since.
To me acting and taking images share the same roots: curiosity and observation. For me the streets are a stage with me observing people and trying to catch a special moment. I follow my instincts. In this way discovering the world of photographic expression little by little I eventually enhance my artistic repertoire.“
Efi Logginou is a member of Intercollective.
„Life is the best storyteller. These stories can be found in the streets, waiting to be discovered and retold in an artistic and skillful way. Driven by light and a lust for life, fascinated by humor, poetry and the surrealism of the ordinary, I try to catch those moments that I feel to be worth preserving.“
Fabian Schreyer is a founding member of the international street photography collective „The Street Collective“, curator of the Italian German street photography project Via!, curator of the Flickr group Street Sequence and curator of the facebook group TSC Public projects
“Life is absurd at times. With my camera I catch those moments where the absurdity reveals itself. As a street photographer I work very much alone.”
“A good street pic shows the extraordinary in the mundane. A happy coincidence, a small miracle in our daily life. Personally I do not care too much about images, where there is an obvious interaction between photographer and subject.“
Guido Steenkamp is a member of the Italo-German street photography project VIA.
“I like people and their stories. I’m constantly observing the world around me, never looking for the perfect image though. A good street photograph is both emotionally touching and entertaining. For me street photography is a passion.
“The city is my studio. Here I walk and take pictures. Not exactly sure what I’m doing.“
Kay von Aspern
“I’m an observer. I try to make images out of what I perceive to be special moments – usually from a little distance. These special moments happen most of the time in public spaces. That is why my work is considered to be street photography. I like it when elements in my pictures are communicating. These elements can repel or attract each other, or can have a balanced relationship. Initially, I do not work on particular themes. Yet I do sequence my work in series.”
Kay von Aspern was a member of the street photography collective Seconds2Real.
“Street photography to me is freedom. All you need is a camera, everything else just happens. I see street photography as a very open genre with ties to landscape, portraiture and documentary photography. Street photography does not have to happen in the streets.
When on the streets, I’m attracted to many things. Moments, stories, gestures, people. I look for light, colors, patterns, lines, animals – in short everything that I feel to be interesting. Combining and linking elements, creating surreal scenes, playfully arranging an image, that is what I’m going for. Over time I started to work more in series and projects.”
Kuba Jasionek is a member of the WorldSP.co (worldstreetphotography) blog on tumblr. In 2016 he was a juror of the Bruxelles Street Photography Festival.
“Telling a story in a single photograph is the challenge that motivates me. Beyond the artistic value of digital and analogue street photography, preserving and documenting the day to day life for future generations is for me of extreme importance.”
Marco Larousse is a curator and founder of “Street Photo & Photographer” of the week für Photofocus, he also produces the podcasts “Photography Inspiration” and “Mirrorless”. He is an admin and founder of the The Analog Street Photography Group on Flickr.
Marga van den Meydenberg
“Since I live in Berlin I notice that everyday life offers much more strange and funny situations than I ever could imagine myself. I just have to go outside, be 100% focused and catch the absurdity of daily life.
I try to isolate these situations or combine them with a weird background.
As a photographer I’m a little bit of an Einzelgänger, only then I can totally focus on my work.
But being part of the VIA project; meeting other ‘streetfreaks’ and being challenged by them was a great experience!
Most of the time I like to go outside or work on projects, that’s why I’m not so active in groups etc.”
“I leave it to the audience to evaluate my work. The viewer’s ability to read my images certainly depends on his and her visual education.”
Mario Cuic is an ex-member of the Seconds2Real collective.
Martin U Waltz
Street photography to me is foremost a reflection on the human condition in urban space. I value emotion higher than juxtaposition. I’m less interested in single images, I usually work in projects and series.”
“There is this special feeling when I know that I need to take exactly this shot. And I give in to his feeling. Ideally it is a situation where man, object and environment blend into one. I care for a clean composition without distracting elements.
Humour and the visual absurd matter to me and play a decisive role whether or not I choose to take an image.”
Max Slobobba is admin of the Flickr group “Street Photography Now”
Michael “Monty” May
“Working for more than 25 years as a staff photographer for a German newspaper, I am obviously not a pure-blooded street shooter, more a crosser between street and documentary photography with the focus on social documentation.
Referring to SP I generally believe, if you put reality just a little bit aside, you will find a lot of absurdities and….humour.”
Michael “Monty” May is a founding member of the international Observe Collective, member of the Italian German street photography project VIA and organizer of the street photography festival “Observations 2017” in Iserlohn, Germany.
“There can’t be enough sunshine for kind of street photography like. I’m looking for those moments when a mundane wall becomes art or a subway exit turns into a catwalk. Making images that a worth a chat in a coffee shop with like minded photographers.
For me street photography is an exercise in meditation – may be not leading to nirvana – yet allowing experiences that I would have had without street photography.”
“For me street photography is a passion. Observe people and making photography out of these special moments fascinates me. My work relies heavily on contrast and the playful interaction of light and shadows.”
Paulus Ponizak is iso.null30 (Paul**) on Instagram and founder of the @intercollective collective.
“My street photography reflects my interior life. What matters to me, what I feel, like or dislike everything finds its way into my work.
The streets are the ideal playground for me. The human factor clearly matters to me most. My work is about humans, characters, clothing stories and so on.
I’m drawn to many different styles in street photography which is why I avoid working with a typical and repeating set of subjects.”
Rainer Nowotny was an admin of the Urban Street Photography group on facebook.
“Street photography for me is about finding the opportunity, the right, the decisive moment. A break in the stream of time.”
“I aim to capture the zeitgeist of a certain place. My images are a visual recording of human life of a certain time period. Hopefully future generations will look at them with the same interest that we have for photography from the 50ties.”
“I try to rediscover the urban cosmos by creating unique images following the aesthetics of randomness .”
Siegfried Hansen is a member of the iN-PUBLIC collective.
“You can do Street Photography everywhere, literally just around the corner. You can do it while walking, relaxing, laughing, observing or admiring. At times you can even create a piece of art that way.”
“With my images I want to transport emotions and evoke questions.”
“Street photography is basically just a term for photography of men made space. I like to cover this space with all its elements and in all possible ways, aesthetically pleasing, abstract or humorous.
On the the street I follow my mood and my instincts. There is little concept or preconceived ideas. It is in the editing process when I streamline things into series and projects.
Humans don’t always play main role in my images, some are even void of human figures, yet the human element is always present.
Torsten Köster is a member of streetlab0711.
“I photograph scenes and things in an urban environment. I often ask myself how these things came to be and what is happening on the streets.”
Torsten Schumann’s photobook “More Cars, Clothes and Cabbages” was published with Peperoni Books in 2016.
“I am always interested in life, how people living in the different cultures, what they do on the street fascinates me. Any situation which involves people I like to take pictures.”
Berlin1020 • Street Photography Collective
street photography collective by the berlin based photographers: Chris “Candid” Schirrmacher (image), Oliver Krumes, Sebastian Jacobitz, Roland Groebe and Martin U Waltz
Soul of Hamburg • Street Photography Collective
“We Nino Vela and Daniel Nide (image) are working the international concrete jungle of Hamburg with its paradox moments.”
streetlab0711 • Street Photography Collective
streetlab0711 is a collaboration of 5 photographers in the Stuttgart area: Hans-Bernhard Sickler, Elias Just, Markus Kühne, Martin Hemm and Torsten Köster (image).
streetlab0711 is an open group with an emphasis on local street photography networking.
Soul of Street • Street Photography Magazine
We think that street photography is the most honest and truthful form of photography. Showing the unfiltered raw emotions of the street, street photography reaches people in their core without having to bend or twist reality.
Our goal is to help establishing street photography in Germany, to support and inspire German street photographers and to promote networking within the German street photography scene.
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