2016 – looking back . looking forward – 2017

In the grand scheme of things 2016 wasn’t a great year. Politically a lot of shit happened, some great artists have died and there wasn’t even a hint of snow for Christmas (in Germany and England anyway). But if I only look at my small personal universe I couldn’t have asked for a better year. I achieved a lot and I am happy. I’m still terribly in love with the city that I chose to live in – Brighton – I absolutely love my job as a video producer and editor – mostly because I get to work with a great team – and despite putting my photography business at the far end of my list of priorities (or maybe because of it?!), I still enjoy shooting.

With photography I chose to concentrate only on what I enjoyed last year, without the constant pressure of pleasing clients and having to make a living from my business. I know I’m very lucky to be able to do this. I have a full-time job that pays my bills (and that I love even) and so photography can be another creative outlet where I just do whatever I want.

So last year I decided to try and pursue a weekly photo project. The objective was to take one portrait of a person every week. Sounds easy enough but at times I did struggle to manage. The rules, that I made up myself, were that the photo has to be taken at any point during the current week, not before and not after. As I went along I also decided at some point that I wanted my subject to look into the camera, I tried to make a connection to the person. I also wanted to ask a lot of strangers but that didn’t happen. Mostly because I was too shy to approach people, sometimes I was just too lazy to go out and “hunt” for a face I’d like to photograph. But I did ask a few and I want to keep pushing myself with this task. So in the future I’m planning to work on this and create some street portraits. But that’s another story, another project.

52 weeks 52 portraits

With this project I tried to challenge myself to find something out about the person (if I didn’t know them already), something to create a connection. I wanted to get a photo quick, without a lot of guidance and posing. That worked very well for people I didn’t know. For some reason the photos I took of close friends took the longest but I suppose that’s also because I didn’t just want to have a nice portrait, I wanted to please them. In many ways it’s a lot easier to shoot strangers as all you know about them is what’s right in front of you.

Here are a few of my favourite shots from this year, in no particular order.

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I just created a photobook with all 52 images as well. Just need to order it. I love prints!

What also happened last year is that I started to be drawn to a (for me) new genre – street photography. In the future I want to do more of that: I’d like to do more documentary work, catch the perfect moment without interfering and concentrate less on styled photos and perfectly created situations. I love pretty pictures as much as every other photographer but for me it’s now more important to tell a real story and that means not just focusing on perfection but rawness and emotions and reality. I want to be a storyteller but not every story that wants to be told is a pretty one. Which doesn’t mean that I won’t shoot pretty things anymore though…

For starters, I tried to play with street photography while visiting New York and Malaga.

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One major thing that influenced my photography massively, was switching to smaller camera. A few months ago I sold my complete Canon kit (6D and 5D3 including all my lenses) and invested in a mirrorless Fuji X-Pro2 with a few primes. When I was travelling, I have been shooting with a Fuji X100 for the past 5 years so I knew I would love my new X-Pro2 before I even got it. But shooting with this smaller kit makes things so much easier. It’s less intrusive and intimidating to people and it’s so so much lighter. I can’t stress enough how much of a difference that makes! So yeah, this is my new little camera family (well a part of it):

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Other than that there aren’t too many photos to show. I documented my life, my travels, my work and whatever I did in my free time as much as I could and I want to continue to do so in 2017. The highlights of my travels can be found in my portfolio, which hopefully will continue to grow in the future.
Also I’m proud of sticking to my “1 Second Everyday” video project. I only started in on the 31st of January, so this is what the past 11 months looked like for me.

So what’s to come now? A lot!
2017 is shaping up to be another year of travelling and new adventures. My goal is to keep my camera close to me, challenge myself and take even more photos. Not just any, but photos that matter. If not to anybody else then at least to me.

I also started a new photography project. It’s called twelve months – you can tell I’m really great with naming my projects! But I like simplicity…
Anyway, the project is a collaboration with 27 other photographers and photo enthusiasts. I will lead it (which means a lot of admin work) and present a different topic every month. All of us, including myself, will go out and try to capture what this word means to us, what we see when thinking of it and how we’d transfer it into a photo. You can read more about the project and the collaborators on the website I created.
Since we’re still in January there is nothing yet to show but I’m really excited to see this project grow over the course of the next 12 months.

And who knows what else this new year will bring?! 2016 has been a good year and I’m thankful for that. Let’s make the next one even better!

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