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The Story Behind That Picture: "The Boston Dazzle"

By: Thorsten Overgaard


I sometimes - or actually always - find it a little curious when someone is concerned about attending a workshop in the rainy season, the winter, the warm season, or something similar.

I find that unusual conditions are often inspiration and thus the key to taking your thinking to new heights. I can't recall a single photo shoot where unexpected weather, too late arrival, not enough available daylight, delayed transportation or similar unexpected conditions have not resulted in a good photograph!

Off the top of my head I can remember shooting his Holiness in India at 1600 ISO with a 100 ISO film at night. And photographing Hans Blix in 5 minutes in a hotel restaurant packed with hotel guests.


"Home, Sweet Home" - I was waiting for someone to walk into my composition (in the below photo) when I turned left and saw this house with the VW in front. I had been walking for two hours in wet snow and my face, hair, glasses, camera and viewfinder were so wet I could hardly focus. I shot two frames of this and then turned back and shot the next pictures below.


I liked the repetition of stairs with snow, and the tree, so I spent 10 minutes waiting for someone who, like me, was stupid enough to be outside. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.


In the last few days Boston offered a new and unpredictable weather situation every day. Wet snow the first day, sunshine the second day, soft heavenly snow the third day, topped off with a layer of sunshine over the six inches of snow on the fourth day.

When you don't know what to expect, or if what you meet is not what you planned, that's when you have to take on your thinking hat and work with the barriers as possibilities.



"Girl Talk" - I had to assure these three ladies inside Union United Methodist Church that I wasn't photographing for Playboy. I promised, and got permission to take some more photos. But this first one was actually the one I liked the best. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.


The former owner of the Italian delicatessen store Salumeria Italiano in Boston, Mr. Erminio Martignetti sits most days in the store and greets cutomers, wearing stylish hat and all. His son and a team of very Italian staff run the business these days.

Sulmona Meat Market
The butchers in the Sulmona Meat Market in Boston are very Italian, and much more friendly than they look in this pictures. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


Saturday morning inside Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe. This place was just around the corner of where I stayed in Boston and had become part of my morning ritual. The chef there has three old Leica M3, M2, IIIf cameras and 15 old school lenses that he will send me more info on. I think I can get him upgraded to Leica M9, at least.
The place features great food, resulting in a waiting line outside on Saturdays. Obama was here, and so was Al Gore and Sammy Davis Jr. Charlie's is also known for serving Afro-American musicians when nobody else would, back when. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. Thorsten Overgaard © 2014


Symmetry in the park. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


Another of the parks in Boston, another day. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


Zeeshan Ali
Zeeshan Ali tolerated the weather and got his portrait taken indoor. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


Dr. Quoc-Dien got his portrait taken outdoor. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


A rather hopeless period with too much snow and too much flat light offered this nice reflection that warmed my soul. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.


We heard music from the street and decided to go in and see what was up in Union United Methodist Church on Columbia Avenue in Boston. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.


The entrance to my apartment in Boston the first evening when I arrived. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f-0.95.


Roy stopped a Valentines Day romantic soul for a photo.


White dog, white landscape. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

Wet snow and another one of those where you see the picture and just have to wait for someone to step into their place to make Dickinson alive. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


Zeeshan Ali working the compostion inside the St. Leonard's Church.

Leica M 240 with 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95




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After snow comes springtime in Boston. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


Thorsten Overgaard




Above: From my late afternoon walk in the snow in Boston. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. Thorsten Overgaard © 2014.


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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to for
advice, ideas or improvements.


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