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The Story Behind That Picture: "Hello Paris"

By: Thorsten Overgaard. August 23, 2015.

 

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Hello Paris

It is always interesting when you walk around a city casually, how you see stories and compositions. You walk by an open door, and in the moment you turn your head, you see a picture.

 


It's hard to tell if this expression is because he is being photographed by me or because he has to endure another day in the city of Paris. Leica M 246 Monochrom with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0

 

People think they need to go to exotic places to find good pictures, but walking anywhere for any or no reason you bring about surprising things. The good pictures happens unexpected.

That’s why any excuse to walk to the bakery to buy bread, or decide to go for a walk and an ice cream is a possibility to open your eyes for a picture.

 


In my hometown Aarhus we went to get an ice cream and walked up the street. Two guys were leaving for one of the summer music festivals in Denmark and was dressed in 1970's clothing and with their 1970's Puch Maxi scooters. A very unlikely and unexpected event, but it happened and I got a few photos of it. When I think of it, something always happens when you get out and about with a camera. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.

 

When I say walk, that’s one possibility. Driving is also a way to do it, but you have to get out of the car and often the perspective looks different when out of the car. I tried so many times stopping the car and get out, just to realize that I couldn't get the same frame as I saw from the car (so often I have more success with taking the photo from inside the car when I see it).

Some people have drivers and may feel they are locked inside a car in heavy traffic every day. I know, some will find this an odd problem, but there are actually parts of the world where having a driver is the way to deal with transportation (in Bangkok a drivers salary is $200 a month). Interesting problem. But you have the freedom to stop the car and walk out if you sense there is something to see. If the traffic isn't moving, then why sit and wait in the car if you can step out and enjoy the freedom for a moment? Take a walk with the camera.

We all have difficult life's that prevent us from taking pictures and makes it so much easier for everybody else. Right? The person forced to take the New York Subway every day and nothing ever happens, or the person who sail on the same boring ferry across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul every morning and evening to work. Nothing to see, nothing to take photographs of.


Pavel Bukhtiychuk
Another uneventful day in Istanbul. Not really, but it helps to be a stranger who isn't used to the exotic architecture and the exiting light. Here it is Pavel Bukhtiychuk from Moscow, Russia in my Istanbul workshop.

 

It just isn't true that nothing ever happens. But it is true that if you look but don't actually see, it will be a repetition. If you feel you are experiencing the same every day, then bring a camera and try to imagine what someone from another part of the world would notice. That should stop the complaining that it's always the war photographer who goes to Africa who gets the good pictures.

It's true that traveling opens your eyes. Not because the surroundings necessarily becomes more interesting, but because you become more interested in seeing.

Walking in Paris I can feel I've seen it all after a few days, but I keep walking. Suddenly you turn a corner and the light changes or you see an interesting person approaching you on the street. I have tried it so many times; you are getting tired and it just isn't your day today. But then two seconds later you see something that inspires you, and there you go!

Some times you just imagine a picture. You see the framework to a picture or sense that a story is unfolding down the street. It requires some more elements to be there. You somehow already have envisioned the composition and what should be in place for it to work. So you hang back and wait for the element that will complete the vision.

When I walked through Paris I visited some familiar places, and one led to the next one, but then suddenly, just a few hundred meters from an area I know well, I was in a completely new area I hadn't seen before. Or maybe I had seen it before, I just hadn't noticed.

 


Some times I will take a picture of a space like this because I know there is something about it. It becomes obvious very quickly that something is missing, but also that something is there. I will do one more to establish how the light and depth of field will look if I have an imagined subject in the front somewhere. It's the same I do when I prepare a location for a portrait. Will the frame work with the imagined subject in front? Leica M 246 Monochrom with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0

 


It was late afternoon and the light had begun to look interesting. Soft light with a low sun creating some sparkling edges on the buildings and in the faces of people.

I found myself in a small crossing of four streets and I decided for a frame with a statue at the end of the road and with good backlight. I spent what felt like half an hour there, but i actual fact it was only 8 minutes. I was waiting for something interesting to come into my frame. I liked the frame, but I needed a person of some sort in it.

When I say wait, I mean being ready to photograph when something like a bicycle, an interesting car or a scooter comes approaching. I set my focus for one spot, hold onto the frame I have decided and wait for the subject to arrive in the area where I set the focus. Then I take 2-3 photos and hope one of them captured the subject with an interesting expression or gesture in focus.

 

 



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My photo required that I was standing on the street which may or may not be a wise decision in parisian rush-hour traffic. Motorized traffic in Paris already seem like a modern way of horseback jousting fight with lances, and even on a relatively quiet street another person obstructing the road seemingly was very provocative to some!

As I recall the day, I waited a long time for my subject. But in retrospect, looking at the time stamps on the files in Lightroom, it only took two minutes before a man arrived and waved to the other photographers who had placed them self on a more secure location on the sidewalk.

 


Hello Paris! Leica M 246 Monochrom with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0

 

That's the sort of unexpected bonus you can't calculate. And that is one reason to be ready for the subject. You never know if it will be an elegant lady with a grand Dior hat or a Hells Angels motorbike who is the next subject in your frame.

Before he arrived, a scooter with two guys had actually tried to torpedo me, so I was already in the process of calculating the risk versus award for waiting around longer.

It's interesting to analyze my image strip now, four months later. I realize my concept of time and what I remembered is different than what actually happened.

 


Another possible subject. You don't know till after how the balance will be, the expression of the subject or if something interesting is happening in the background. Leica M 246 Monochrom with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

 

Some times I revisit a location again and again if I was lucky with it, or if I had only partly luck but feel I didn't utilize the full potential of the scene. Some time I am right to do so, at other times it just doesn't get better.

Just around the corner from this location we found a church and an interesting square we spend another half hour exploring, but that's another story for another day.

Let me finish with a quote from Henri Cartier-Bresson who spent a life in Paris:

"The only correction is to make the next picture if you are not satisfied. You try another solution. That’s why a contact sheet is so interesting because you see how a man has been thinking photographically, with his brain, with his eyes, his feet and everything with himself." - HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON

 

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I hope you enjoyed today's Story Behind That Picture. As always, feel free to mail me at thorsten@overgaard.dk with comments, suggestions and questions.

 


Another one. As you can tell I am just waiting for the right one. You can't know if the background is going to be filled with a ugly car or a classic Ford T. Leica M 246 Monochrom with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

 


One more before we leave. Leica M 246 Monochrom with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

 

 

Thorsten Overgaard, August 23, 2015

 

 

 

   
   

 
 

 

   
   
   
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Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M digital cameras:   Leica L digital cameras:
Leica M11   Leica SL
Leica M10   Leica SL2
Leica M10-P   Leica SL2-S
Leica M10-R   Panasonic Lumix S5 II X
Leica M10-D   Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica M10 Monochrom   Leica TL2
Leica M9 and Leica M-E   Leica CL
Leica M9-P   Leica L-Mount lenses
Leica M9 Monochrom   Leica R digital cameras:
Leica M240   Leica R8/R9/DMR
Leica M246 Monochrom   Small Leica mirrorless digital cameras:
Leica MD-262 and Leica M60   Leica D-Lux
    Leica C-Lux
Leica M film cameras:   Leica V-Lux
Leica M6   Leica Q2 / Leica Q2 Monochrom
Leica M4   Leica Q
    Leica Digilux 3
Leica M lenses:   Leica Digilux 2
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica Digilux 1
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica Digilux
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R film cameras:
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R8 / R9
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica R3 electronic
Leica 35mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL / SLmot
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 FLE   Leica compact film cameras:
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.2   Leica CM 35mm film camera
7artisans 50mm f/1.1   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8 collapsible   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25   Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4
7artisans 75mm f/1.25   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leica 90mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.5   Leica 250mm Telyt-R f/4.0
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica S digital medium format:
Leitz Cine lenses:   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica Cine lenses from Leitz Cine Wetzlar   Leica S2
    Leica S
History and overview:   Sony mirrorless digital cameras:
Leica History and Heritage   Sony A7
Famous Leica Usears   Fujifilm mirorrless digital cameras:
Leica Definitions   Fujifilm X-Pro 2
Leica Lens Compendium    
Leica Camera Compendium   "Magic of Light" 4K Television Channel
The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus   Thorsten von Overgaard YouTube Channel
Photography Knowledge    
Calibrating computer screen for photographers   Thorsten Overgaard books and education:
Which Computer for Photographers?   Thorsten Overgaard Masterclasses & Workshops
What is Copyright? Advice for Photogarphers   Lightroom Survival Kit (Classic)
Synchronizing Large Photo Archive with iPhone   Lightroom Presets by Overgaard
Quality of Light   Lightroom Brushes by Overgaard
Lightmeters   Capture One Software
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   Capture One Survival Kit
White Balance & WhiBal   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Film in Digital Age   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
Dodge and Burn   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
All You Need is Love   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   "Composition in Photography" eBook
X-Rite   "A Little Book on Photography" eBook
The Origin of Photography   "After the Tsunami" Free eBook
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
    The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
    "Why do I Photograph?"
Leica Photographers:    
Henri Cartier-Bresson   Riccis Valladares
Rodney Smith   Christoåpher Tribble
Birgit Krippner   Martin Munkácsi
John Botte   Jose Galhoz
 
Douglas Herr   Milan Swolf
Vivian Maier   Jan Grarup
Morten Albek    
Byron Prukston   Richard Avedon
     
The Story Behind That Picture:   Learn with Thorsten Overgaard:
More than 250 articles by Thorsten Overgaard   Leica M9 Masterclass (video course)
Thorsten Overgaard Workshop Schedule   Leica M10 Masterclass (video course)
    Leica M240 Masterclass (video course)
Leica Forums and Blogs:   Leica Q Masterclass (video course)
Leica M11 / M240 / M10 User Forum on Facebook   Leica Q2 Masterclass (video course)
Jono Slack   Leica TL2 Quick Start (video course)
Sean Reid Review (reviews)   Street Photography Masterclass (video course)
Heinz Richter's Leica Barnack Berek Blog   Adobe Photoshop Editing Masterclass
    The Photoraphers Workflow Masterclass
    Adobe Lightroom Survival Kit 11
    Capture One Survival Kit 22
     
    Thorsten von Overgaard Academy Online
    Thorsten von Overgaard Free Online Masterclass
     
Connect with Thorsten Overgaard:   Overgaard Workshops & Masterclasses
Thorsten Overgaard on Instagram   Overgaard One-on-One Training
Join the Thorsten Overgaard Mailing List   Thorsten Overgaard Archive Licencing
Thorsten Overgaard on Facebook   Commision Thorsten Overgaard
 
 
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Camera Straps "Always Wear A Camera"   Ventilated Shade E46 for old Leica 35mm/1.4 lens
The Von M Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade for Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH
The Von L Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade E43 for older 50mm Summilux
The Von Mini Messenger Walkabout Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade for 35mm Summicron-M ASPH
Desk Blotters 'Always Wear A Camera"   Ventilated Shade for older 35mm/f2 lenses
Sterling Silver Necklace   Ventilated Shade E39 for 50mm Summicron lenses
Software for Photography   Ventilated Shade for Leica 28mm Summilux
Signed Thorsten Overgaard Gallery Prints   Ventilated Shade for current 28mm Elmarit-M
Computer Shade for MacBook Pro   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
Video Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade E49 for 75mm Summicron
Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   ventilated Shade E55 for 90mm Summicron
Home School Photography Extension Courses   Ventilated Shade for 28mm Summaron
    Ventilated Shade for 24mm Elmarit
    Ventilated Shade E60 for 50mm Noctilux and 75/1.4
Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated Shade for Leica Q and Leica Q2
 

Above: My contact sheet from 8 minutes hanging around the corner of Rue la Feuilade and Rue des Petits Peres in Paris. © 2015 Thorsten von Overgaard.


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also visit:

Overgaard Photography Workshops
Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Street Photography Masterclass Video
Adobe Photoshop Editing Masterclass
Adobe Lightroom Survival Kit 11
Lightroom Presets by Overgaard
Lightroom Brushes by Overgaard
Capture One Software download
Capture One Survival Kit 22

Capture One Styles by Overgaard
Signed Original Prints by von Overgaard

Von Overgaard Gallery Store
Ventilated Shades by Overgaaard
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Leica Definitions
Leica History
Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon f/3.4
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4

Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 35mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0

Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
7artisans 75mm f/1.25
Leica 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summilux f/1.5
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz Cine lenses
Leica L lenses

Leica M6

Leica M11
Leica M10
Leica M10-P

Leica M10-R
Leica M10-D
Leica M10 Monochrom
Leica M9, M9-P and Leica ME
Leica M9 Monochrom
Leica M 240
Leica M 240 for video
Leica M 262
Leica M-D 262

Leica M 246 Monochrom

Leica SL
Leica SL2
Leica SL2-S

Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica R9 dSLR
Leica Q
Leica Q2
Leica Q2 Monochrom
Leica CL
Leica TL2
Leica Sofort
Leica S digital medium format
Leica X
Leica D-Lux

Leica C-Lux

Leica V-Lux

Leica Digilux

Leica Digilux 1

Leica Digilux 2
Leica Digilux Zoom

Leica Digilux 4.3

Leica Digilux 3

Light metering
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Color Meters

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The Story Behind That Picture
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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.

You can follow Thorsten Overgaard at his television channel magicoflight.tv.

Feel free to email to thorsten@overgaard.dk for questions, advice and ideas.

 

 
           
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