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"San Francisco Triumph" by Thorsten Overgaard. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.


The Story Behind That Picture: "San Francisco Triumph"

By: Thorsten Overgaard


When I was preparing my Hong Kong exhibition, I decided to include a photo I had never used or shown before.

As I saw the print on the wall in Hong Kong, I was rather pleased. It's a picture I've had mixed feelings about since I first took it, and again later when I edited the photos from that day.


Photo by Schmidt Marketing.


The story behind it was that I was walking on Stockton Street in San Francisco and did a few photos from the Bush Street above Stockton Street, playing with the stong shadows of people and buildings on the Stockton Street below.

When I walked down the stairs to Stockton Street, I liked the harsh contrast of people on the stairs. So I stopped to see if I could get an interesting sillhouet. A couple of men with hats and cigars, a mother and a child hand in hand, a woman in a nice dress with a big hat. You know, something.

It's always a matter of how much you want a photo. If you really believe in it, you may hang around for ten or twenty minutes for the chance of the right composition. At other times you give up after a few seconds. In this case I spent 52 seconds, I can tell from the date and time in the image files.


Hanging out by Bush Street/Stockton Street in San Francisco for 52 seconds: 11 photos in color and black and white.


When I edited the 305 photos I did that day in San Francisco, I selected one of the photographs and edited it. And then I didn't do much more. When I have marked and edited a photo, I add keywords and then it goes into the archive. Sometimes I am so enthusiastic about a photo I put it on Facebook or somewhere to see the response.

This one just sat in the archive till I saw it again some time after. I liked something about it. I guess the feeling of a cathedral, the simplicity, the dramatic contrast, as well as the nice grey tones and patterns in the street.


Photo: Schmidt Marketing, Hong Kong.


And when I look at it again, I like that it is timeless. If I told you it was taken in Istanbul in 1968, you would believe me. That's a quality.

In any case, I decided "why not" put it into the exhibition and see what happens. And so I did. And now you know the story behind that picture.

The title "San Francisco Triumph" refers to the shape of the arc, which reminds me of a Triumphal arch.


San Francisco Triumph. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.




Buying prints from The Quarry Bay Collection

All the photos in the Quarry Bay exhibiton signed prints in size 25 x 35 cm in unnumbered edition. For the occasion they were sold for $500 individually, so if you want a print before December 31, send an e-mail and you can acquire for that price as well (normal price is $1,250). Just note which print(s) you are interested in.



Thorsten Overgaard, December 11, 2014

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Above: "San Francisco Triumph" by Thorsten Overgaard. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.



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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.

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