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My life as a photographer


I bought my first camera when I was 11 years. A small 35 mm with viewfinder for the price of 3 LPs. My inspiration to get into photography was Jan Schrøder, a butcher in Denmark, who had shown me the love of his life: A Nikon FM with a 50/1.4 lens.

My mother saw where it was going, and for my confirmation at age 15, she gifted me a Nikon EM which was the first "cheap" camera Nikon made.

Soon after I was making my own film rolls from raw film on cans and photographed somewhat 150 meters of black and white films a year which I developed and copied myself.

Tina Maria Nielsen from my school, laursens Realskole,1982
Tina Maria Nielsen from my school, laursens Realskole,1982

I had a thing for this. I had figured out how the cameras worked inside and the whole principle of "painting with light" even before I saw how a camera actually looked inside. As a kid I had lots of time to philosophize on this and to train my eyes and hands.

I also build my own 6x6 camera in wood, with a tilt-shift lens, which made nice pictures. It could only contain one shot at the time (in film loaders of wood and paper I had made). It was a very nice project and the camera works.

Thorsten von Overgaard with wooden 6x6 homemade camera. I still have the 6x6 wooden camera I built when I was 14.
I still have the 6x6 wooden camera I built when I was 14.

My mother was renting out rooms to all sorts of people, an African prince, a girl that worked with horses, another girl that was working at the best restaurant in Denmark.

And so on, a lot of funny characters. I brought them to my "studio" with its do-it-yourself lightning and did portraits of them.

I also walked a lot around in the nature and photographed the lake, the trees, cows and the buildings.


Tina. My brothers girlfriend shot Sunday morning with the cat Jackie, 1981.

At one stage I was very much into photographing demonstrations and went with so-called BZ'ere (young people who took over empty factories and houses at night to occupy them illegally) to photograph the takeovers and the life lived in the buildings.

I photographed my school friends, my bigbrothers girlfriends, my girlfriends girlfriends, my girlfriends girlfriends brothers' girlfriends cats and so on.

I did few commercial works of houses and people (fashion) and some times participated in photo competitions where you could win a camera. I sold my first photograph to Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency for $850 at age 15.

At one stage I wanted the passion of photography to become my profession in life, but because I was slightly colorblind (red/green) I couldn't be allowed into the photographic school. I told them I didn't give a damn about color - I only wanted to work in black and white. They didn't really care.

When I got into the advertising business in 1985 I calmed down my interest in photo and even sold my darkroom after a while.


Our bathroom zink always had beautiful light in the morning.

I still used my Nikon EM till it broke in 1996 (it lasted for 17 years and 4.000 roles of film) and then bought both a used Nikon EM as well as a used Nikon F3 and a used Nikon FG.

In 1998 I met a film director in the Caribbean who always had a Leica Minilux with him, and I was so impressed with the pictures that I soon got one. The Leica Minilux is a nice little portable camera with a unique 40 mm lens.

The rest is history, as they say...

The beach.

 

Thorsten Overgaard and brother Martin Overgaard at Aarhus Beach, August 1971 [Thorsten far left, Martin far right].
Thorsten Overgaard and brother Martin Overgaard at Aarhus Beach, August 1971 [Thorsten far left, Martin far right].

 

Thorsten Overgaard in 1988 being as the executive director for D3 advertising agency K/S in Denmark.
Thorsten Overgaard in 1988 being as the executive director for D3 advertising agency K/S in Denmark.

 

Thorsten Overgaard at AD ONE adveritsing 1999
Thorsten Overgaard in his AD ONE advertising and internet company [1999] in Randers, which he sold in 2000 and then left the advertising and itnernet business.

Poul Overgaard Nielsen wedding 1962
Thorstens mother and fathers wedding 2 June 1962. In the picture (from left) it is Poul with his mother and father. In the middle of the photo Jyttes grandmother.

Poul Overgaard Nielsen  at Århus Stiftstidende 1984
Thorstens father, Poul Overgaard Nielsen.Here a picture from 1984 when he worked at Århus Stiftstidende, the local newspaper.

 

 

 

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