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Robin Isabella von Overgaard


The Story Behind That Picture:
"Always Wear a Camera and a Lucky Dime"

By: Thorsten Overgaard

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It's the same song I keep humming, "Always Wear a Camera", but in todays story there are two reasons why. And the Lucky Dime ... that's another story!

Joy and I started traveling a lot more with my youngest daughter, Robin Isabella. She just turned 11 (Oct 8th) and I'm of the opinion that if one can read and write, one can figure out anything.

So how do they handle that, the folks who travel all the time? It turns out to be rather simple. Find a tutor who loves to teach kids and who loves to travel. That makes it a success and it reduces cost because the tutor is in it for the adventure rather than a job.

We've had different tutors work with Robin to teach her to read and write in English when we were on longer travels. One of these amazing tutors taught several kids of actor couples that traveled a lot. She basically hadn't done anything else for many years, and some of the kids never saw other school than her.

We decided to kidnap her along for the ride. Now, Robin combines school in Denmark with her on-the-road tutor where they work with letters, writing, numbers and more; and they get to study the cities we visit (and do other recreational educational activities like seeing "The Lion King" onstage in London!). Robin's taking up journaling with pictures and stories, and some times she writes letters to my workshop students. She's actually quite busy!


Robin Isabella von Overgaard
Robin Isabella in London. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


How pictures happen

The great thing having Robin Isabella around is that she loves "Daddy's camera boys and girls" and loves to hang out with the workshop folks. She also like to be photographed.

So when we hailed an Uber driver in London to go to my award-ceremony exhibit for ArtGemini Prize in a trendy neighbourhood (one of those that used to a factory or meat-packing district or something), I saw Robin running through some leaves and asked her to run through them again.

I did as I always do: I focused on a spot not far from the camera, and then took 2-3 photos in a burst when the subject - in this case Robin - approached focus. It mostly works the way that one of the photos will be in focus.


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I didn't try more than once and didn't think much of it untill I edited the photos. It's just very Robin, and at the same time a very good memory of England where we did a four-day assignemnt, a concert, portrait session and then a workshop.

Needless to say, had I not had my camera with me, all this would just be words.


Thorsten Overgaard explained: I don't know what they talked about, but they took notes and talked about "Shadowland". Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.


How great pictures happen

Some time ago I wrote an article titled "How to win photo competitions" that's gotten a lot of traffic from the Internet.

In my newly re-designed and re-written "Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course" I have a section as an extra part of the extension course. One you don't have to do, but may do if you feel like.

  ArtGemini Prize 2014

It's about how to get your photographs into exhibitions, and as I wrote it I fortuitously got my photographs into three new exhibitions!

One of the exhibitions was the one at TriSpace Gallery in London that I visited with Robin and took the above photograph.

As it turned out, I quite unexpectedly won 2nd prize and 500 Pounds amongst 700 international artists to exhibiti and shortlist.


Mr. Jimmy Lek
The Singapore-born founder of the ArtGemini Prize, Mr. Jimmy Lek in the background at TriSpace Gallery in London. In the foreground my "Shadowland" on 160 x 110 cm gloss Lambda photographic print mounted on aluminium ("aluboard" ), selling for £4,000 .


One of the points in the article on how to win photo competitions is that winning photos are very often pictures "that just happened" ... which translates to the winner happened to have a camera with them when they experienced something unexpected.

The photo that the judges in the ArtGemini Prize 2014 selected to put into the exhibiton, and also awareded with a 2nd prize, is "Shadowland". This is a photo I did in Copenhagen few days after I got the first Leica M 240 and was waiting for my suit designer Jean//phillip.

Another example illustrating that if I hadn't brought my camera with me while waiting for something else on a street in Copenhagen, none of this would have happened.


"Shadowland" on 160 x 110 cm gloss Lambda photographic print mounted on aluminium
"Shadowland" on 160 x 110 cm gloss Lambda photographic print mounted on aluminium ("aluboard"). Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.


If you follow the logic for a moment, you probably would realize that I wouldn't have made that photograph in the first place. I would just have been one of the other kids hanging out on a street corner in Copenhagen with nothing to do and nothing to show for it. I wouldn't have won that 2nd prize, I wouldn't have been in that exhibition.

Even more interestingly, Robin and I wouldn't have been there that evening. The above photo of Robin simply wouldn't have existed.

That is interesting, isn't it?


The Lucky Dime

I don't know why I came to think of this today, but let's just make it a bonus story. An advice for travelers.

I always have a 1 Euro and 1 Pound coin handy.

  Shadowland at TriSpace Gallery in London
  The Lucky Dime

The reason why is obvious when you arrive in Hamburg Airport or Gatwick Airport and need a trolley: They require you to "rent" the trolley and they only take coins (unlike in the US where you pay $4 or $5 with bills or a credit card). The Hamburg Airport has a machine for changing bills to coins that is consistently broken.

Getting coins is not a problem as soon as you have your luggage and have entered the country. But by then you don't need the trolley anymore.

It's just one of those things...

It's less stressful when traveling to just put everything on a trolley. It's one of the small luxuries of travel to have a trolley take the load. Everything is in one place and it's easy to trolley around in style as if you have everything under control. You can buy a cup of coffee and have a cigarette outside before you load your car.

In some airports you even get your coin back!


For £1 you get all this...




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Shadowland at TriSpace Gallery in London
My photograph "Shadowland" on display in London where it won 2nd prize in the ArtGemini Prize 2014 amongst paintings, sculptures and photographs from more than 700 international artists. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.


Read The Story Behind That Picture: "Shadowland" for more on the photograph.

Thorsten Overgaard, October 29, 2014






Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Leica S:
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240 (Leica M10)   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica M-D Typ 262 and Leica M60   Leica S2 digital medium format
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 digital rangefinder   Leica S digital medium format
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Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica Cine Lenses:
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Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder    
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Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
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Film in Digital Age   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
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X-Rite   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
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Steve Huff Photos (reviews)   The Leica Pool on Flickr
Erwin Puts (reviews)   Eric Kim (blog) (blog)   Adam Marelli (blog)
Luminous Landscape (reviews)   Jono Slack
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John Thawley (blog)   I-Shot-It photo competition
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Commisioning Thorsten Overgaard Worldwide   Ventilated Shade for 50mm Summicron lenses
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Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
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Above: Robin Isabella in London.
Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish-American multiple award-winning photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops to photographers. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via email.

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