A friend of mine pointed out an article (loosely defined) published in an online magazine (loosely defined) that would probably never see the light of day. Because I’m feeling charitable today I’ll shed some light on it.
The article isn’t an interview because an interview is done by the interviewer and the subject. This was written to look like an interview but was written entirely by the subject of the interview. No one who actually works within the legitimate photo industry would know that EVERTHING written in this interview is false. If you are a Leica fanboy and post in the l-camera-forum or on Huff’s site, because your only connection to photography industry is merely a surface understanding, you may think this interview contains real information. It doesn’t.
First off, the writer has no real world knowledge of what he’s writing about. That doesn’t really stop a guy like this, though. The first question was pretty funny, “In a nutshell, what are the differences between general photography and photojournalism?”
He answered his own question as follows, “Yes, there is a difference. Generally speaking - and let that be a warning to anybody seeking a career as a photographer - photojournalism seems to be most popular with people who seek photography as an interesting career and thus take an education to become a photographer, eventually end up illustrating stories tailored for newspapers. This might sound a bit negative, and perhaps it is, because the majority of photojournalists end up as angry men in a photo pit shooting pictures for others. But some rise above the randomness of the one having to illustrate the news stories, there’re notable photographers such as Terakopian in London and Jan Grarup in Denmark who do really nice work and enjoy what they are doing.”
There are no photojournists hanging out on the l-camera-forum or Steve Huff’s forums. None. They’re working. They’re chasing dayrates. They don’t have time to hang around gear-fondlers that put “Leica Photographer” in front of their names. In fact, if you were to actually see a photojournalist in the wild, you’d never see them with a Leica hanging around their necks for several reasons. Working photojournalists for the most part can’t afford a Leica. If you were to read the credentials of the guy writing this, he claims to be contributor to The AP, WireImage and Getty Images. Aren’t those newsgathering organizations? If you click each one of the links you’ll see an aggregate of perhaps 326 images contributed over the last five years by someone who wouldn’t seem to respect anyone who does that for a living. My friends and I can file more photos in an afternoon much less years than this guy has done in many years.
What someone should read between the lines is that Thorsten was never really “accepted” as a photojournalist. Except for teaching workshops to wealthy Leica owners he doesn’t earn his living making photographs. When one reads, “because the majority of photojournalists end up as angry men in a photo pit shooting pictures for others,” what you should also read is that he never really got the chance to do that and it upsets him. He limited himself to only using out-of-date photographic equipment while everyone else uses state-of-the-art. He couldn’t survive on his dubious photographic talent alone. When the situation dictated a colour picture with an ISO over 800 his equipment couldn’t handle it. When someone misses a photo because they don’t have their long zoom it’s called “being under-lensed.” In this guy’s case he’s “under-camera’d.” Perhaps he’s even “under-talented.”
What other morsel of photographic wisdom does the king of lifestyle photographers make? ”So that is the real difference between the happy photographer and the unhappy one: If you are taking the photos that you enjoy taking you will be happy, but fulfilling a job as one who takes home images will make you unhappy. The more you wanted to create something, the less happy you will be with not creating your own images.”
Basically, because I’ve called him out friending everyone who was my Facebook friend, adding them to his address book and marketing to them with his newsletters — subsequently defriending him and blocking all of his email addresses from ever again contacting me — and I wouldn’t “play along” with his charades he’s basically characterized me as unhappy. In fact, some of his “manufactured interview” was a vieled hit piece on me even though he didn’t name me specifically. Quite honestly I love the fact I’m hired to make photos for the most read magazines in the world, the biggest brands known to mankind and cover some of the most illustrious events that have ever been held. The fact someone pays me to do this amazes me. In fact, most photographers I know who actually make their living in the photographic world feel the same way.
The only unhappy ones are those who were never really accepted … such as Mr. Overgaard. There are many others such as Overgaard. They know Search Engine Optimization, networking and their own version of marketing very very well. Their infectious enthusiam for gear gains them fanboys.
Using company names such as Getty, the AP and WireImage on your business card, your website and basically anywhere else you need to “establish the fact you’re legitimate” is fine if you actually get assigned and contribute. 300 photos? Does that really make you legitimate in a field that you clearly don’t like? I think a reasonable person would agree with me: It does not. I also think a reasonable person would agree that you’re clearly embellishing on the truth to give yourself credibility.
"It helps a lot in photography to have a purpose. If you had to have a photo of some people demonstrating, you get the courage, the eye and the efficiency the purpose requires. Because you basically know from the beginning, what the picture you need to get must contain, or hold emotions off, for it to communicate. " Really, dude, you’ve covered a demonstration? Or is this just superfluous puffery to, AGAIN, make it appear that you know what you’re talking about? Indeed.
"The pictures showing royal families or celebrities in their worst or ‘funny’ situations are products of hunters with a camera, working for indecent medias. They basically have nothing to do with journalism or photography." While I deplore the paparazzi and their indecent intentions, Overgaard should really do some more searching into the image catalogs of Getty and Wire; they both have paparazzi contributors who do exactly what he talked about. Whilst it bothers me I know there’s nothing I can do about it. If it really bothers you, why would you list outlets to augment your perceived connection to the photo world that supply the very photos you deplore? Dilettante. In Webster’s there should be a photo of this guy next to that word.
I honestly love when people compare themselves on their websites as “His work has been compared to Piscasso,” generally written by someone with a surface understanding or p.r. Or written by someone who has perhaps read “The Five Minute Expert’s Guide to Marketing” and writes something like “The great artists in music and film I know are all very organized, and I am too.”
Yes, sir, much like aligning yourself with those you feel are more successful and talented than you are … comparing yourself to “a great” makes you great. Sorry … that’s deluded. Wonder how much it cost to find that pearl of information.
When talking about workflow I saw “When I edit pictures, I do them all, I add all information to the image files while I remember names and places, and save editions in a set of sizes for any possible use on my website, by picture agencies and clients.” Well that’s funny your agencies have a total of three hundred photos with your name on the byline. You must have the slowest workflow known to man.
Real photographers have editors. ;) Editors that we appreciate and respect.
"I also think that it is important to make your own choices. I shoot what I want, with the equipment I want to use and have developed a style, which is what my clients want."
You mean your website is your client, right? Because I’ll put money on the fact your real income from being a photographer is less than what I spent on coffee so far this week.
"You’ve got to develop your own style and your own specialty, which you will get known for. Not when you grow up or become rich, but from the beginning where you don’t have five kids and two cars to support. And it goes remarkably fast to build a style and a clientele, I would say you can start getting food within weeks from your photography and have a real style that generates your income in a couple of years."
Within weeks you can begin making money with your photograpy? If ANYONE believes this, they deserve to part with their €1000 or more. Trade schools tell students that so that they sign their life away and take student loans. Now dubiously wealthy Leica owners masquerading as working photographers tell people that to entice them to leave their boring banking, engineering or dental careers? Really? I don’t see how people sleep well at night when they make these claims.
"With dSLR, you tend to plan the photo and then get that. With the Leica M9 rangefinder you see the picture possibility and it’s more a matter of trusting your instincts than actually ensuring a given result. In a way, with Leica M9 your confidence is in yourself, whereas with dSLR it is often in the equipment."
I dig using my M9 so that I can use my Leica-M glass. It’s wonderful. This quote, however, is written by someone who has not one clue about working photographers. Except for a Magnum guy here or there and some music shooters you will not find even .0001% of the photos that play on front pages or leading news picture galleries taken with an M. I know of not one working photojournalist for Getty, the AP, AFP, EPA, etc., etc. that uses anything but a dSLR. This santimonious Dane is going to call my contemporaries people that “rely on their equipment more than their talent”? This guy relies on bullshit more than talent.
It is so frustrating to read things written by a dilettante and glorified forum guru. It saddens me that true enthusiasts of photography — who may have no intention of ever using their camera to make a living — are subjected to the kind of information they’re presented with. It’s beyond sad.
"I travel quite a bit, with a Leica M9 around the neck, a few lenses, a light meter and a reflector. Sometimes an extra M9 in the bag too. Life is so much easier when you walk through airport security without a 25 kg trolley full of dSLR equipment."
And if your client or agency requires you to make a photo that requires ISO 6400 and long glass, your Leica M9 can handle that? No. I’ve shot just as many frames with an M9 and know just as much if not more about how it handles. It’s impossible. I could — if I didn’t actually work as a photographer — compile an extensive website for gear-bators to droll over … but I won’t. Ever.
I’ve carried a much heavier roller bag with me all over the world. And I’m still smiling because I know I’m actually working as a photographer instead of trying to make people THINK I’m a photographer.
"The shooting style is very much like a dSLR and as long as the light conditions are good, the result is perfect, detailed, 3D and accurate colours without much work in Lightroom."
Indeed the S2 is a lovely machine but, yo, Thorsten I thought you didn’t like dSLR’s? I thought you didn’t like heavy cameras. He doesn’t even realize when he contradicts himself. Total dilettante.
Back in the day when Thorsten approached me he seemed like a nice guy. Please ask him who introduced him to editors at some wire services. I regret doing so today, of course. Not only were the outlet names used only to further a marketing campaign instead of doing real photographic work but … it seems it may have also been used to further religious views within “news coverage,” which, again, of course, I wholeheartedly disagree with and deplore. Inserting any of your views in news photos is completely against what news photos are about.
And, yes, Thorsten, I intended for you to be sent a screencap. You may fool the entusiasts, the rich Leica owners and others … but … you really don’t fool me.
Besides … I saw photographic work at a county fair recently that was much better than your exhibition.
Leica … You guys should be really careful who you thinks tipifies your brand. Shouldn’t it represent great photography and NOT guys who wear a camera to look cool? Don’t worry Thorsten anyone with a truly qualified eye knows you have zero chance of actually working as a true professional photographer. Keep up the charade with your workshops! I’m sure it has to be spiritually fulfilling to fleece the pockets of the idiots you rope into paying you. ;)
One last thing … if you are “spiritually clear” why on Earth would you need to be addicted to anything like cigarettes? Just wondering.