We are excited to bring you In Focus, a new series that explores what happens when creative professionals and ProCamera come together.
Visual artist Lance Hewison, who has guest blogged for us a few times already, has directed the first episode featuring Berlin-based street photographer Martin U Waltz. Check out the debut of our very first episode here:
Here are some interview segments that didn’t make it into the video but we thought you might enjoy reading:
How did you get started as a street photographer?
Actually, it’s more like it just happened rather than something I started. I always liked roaming the streets and exploring, and at some point I simply brought my camera with me and started shooting whatever was happening around me. Eventually I learned that there was something called Street Photography and that I was moving in that realm, so then I started to learn, ok, what does street photography mean and what schools of street photography are there and what could I do within this area.
Figures feature very prominently in your work. What do you find most interesting about photographing people?
It’s the blend of people within the habitat of the city. I think that’s the really interesting part. It’s not so much that I shoot portraits, but that I try to contextualize people against the backdrop of the city and how they mix with it; that’s what I’m going for. And it depends; sometimes people are very dominant and sometimes people are tremendously small, like when I shoot from above and they are just tiny figures.
Do you ever feel blocked or uninspired. If so, what do you do in that situation?
I think every artist feels blocked and uninspired at times and I’m no exception to that. What I’ve learned is there’s only one way to get out of it, and that’s to start working again no matter how mediocre, no matter how unhappy you are with the results, and no matter how much you don’t feel like it. Just go out and do your thing and shoot whatever goes on around you. There’s no magic trick in overcoming a moment of dullness or lack of inspiration other than starting to work again. There’s one exception and that’s when I’ve shot a lot in a short time. I’m somehow “shot out”. I’m simply exhausted and I know that I need to recover for a few days. But that’s not being uninspired, that’s being visually exhausted.
Can you earn a living from street photography alone? Is it something you do for fun or for a living or both?
I teach workshops and sell prints which brings in money, but as a street photographer you’re not so much self-employed but more of an entrepreneur. So it depends on your entrepreneurial qualities and skills if you’re really getting somewhere or not.
After this experience, in which situations would you prefer to use an iPhone over a larger compact camera or the other way around?
I was actually surprised how well it worked with the iPhone and how I could get pretty much the same shooting quality as with the larger camera. The advantage of the iPhone is obviously that you’re in “stealth mode”. You can work extremely close and you can shoot in places where people would yell at you if you got a big camera out. The huge difference between a smart phone and a larger camera is shooting at night. That’s when noise is coming in and the small sensor in the device is simply overpowered. That’s a technical frontier that has yet to be fully tackled.
What, if anything, do you hope to achieve with your photographs?
If I want to achieve something I would say it’s a documentation of contemporary Berlin. I really want to grasp what the city is about these days. So in a larger sense in my body of work it’s really about Berlin and captures it in its diversity and in its ever changing ways.