Hi Thomas can you tell us something about yourself, please?
My name is Thomas Leuthard and I am a Swiss based street photographer who travels to the big cities of the World to follow my passion and tomeet friends. Street photography is just a passion, my full time jobis in IT. This gives me enough time and money to do what I love to do.For me street photography is kind of lifestyle. The interest inhumanity, the average life on the street, the reality how it presentsus every day. I'm a documenter of the ordinary life of strangers Idon't even know and never will...
In which way and when have you decided to become a street photographer?
This was a decision I made in May 2009 when I bought a Nikon 85mm lens. I wanted to shoot all my photos with this lens on the street. After a while I figured out that this lens is getting too close and I had to choose a 50mm. Now I work with a Lumix GF1 with the 20mm pancake lens. I got closer and closer over time.
Which is your approach to people when you photograph them in the street?
My approach is very simple. I see someone who interests me, I go close to him, I point my camera towards him, I wait until he looks at me, I shoot and then I walk away. That’s all. No asking, no talking, no nothing. Just shooting…
Do you prefer people’s close-up or do you lose yourself into the scene with them?
I start shooting full scene more and more as a close-up portrait doesn’t really tell a story. Just shooting candid portraits is getting boring. Full scenes will never get boring as there is much more to see. Your interest will change over time. While I loved to shoot candid portraits, I will not do it for the time being. I don't even take my DSRL with me anymore. Street is wide angle and full scenes...
Do you generally expect the situations create by themselves or do you look for them walking the streets?
It depends on the situation. Sometimes I see something by walking by, sometimes I look for something special. I keep my eyes open and my camera ready all the time. You either go shooting or shopping. Both is not possible...
Do you prefer black and white or colour photography? Why?
I love black and white as it reduces the photo to patterns and forms. Color is often distracting. Sometimes a photo lives from the colors, but this is very seldom. In order to keep my own style, I should remain with the same camera, same lens and same post-processing. Anything else will get you off the track to your own style.
Can you tell us about one of your days as a street photographer? When do you prefer to go out, what do you bring along and how long does your work last?
I don't like direct sunlight. That's why I often decide to go out when it's cloudy, foggy or later in the day, when the sun is not that strong. In fall we have a lot of fog, which is the perfect weather on the streets. Normally I go out for some hours. When I'm alone, I have enough after about 2 hours, with friends a day can take up to 6 hours. Then there is a lot of talking, discussion, drinks and not a lot of photos. Shoot alone for photos, shoot in groups for networking. I often have only my Lumix GF1 with me together with a second battery. That's all I need. Gear is overrated.
Do you have any advice for all the photographers who approach to street photography?
Get out and shoot. Don't read magazines, don't read history, don't talk, just shoot. There are too many people which don't practice a lot. You don't get a good street photographer with learning theory. It's all about doing it, doing it every day. The eye needs to be trained every day. I have pressed the shutter release button about 200'000 times so far within 3 years. 199'000 times, the result was crap. Just to mention the practical aspect of street photography.
Thank you Thomas for answering our questions. LSP wishes you a good job.
85mm Street Photography
85mm Street Photography