Interview: Thomas Leuthard

ENGLISH: In December 2014 I interviewed street photographer Thomas Leuthard:

FC: How did you get interested in street photography? 

TL: I was not interested in the usual study photography you learn when you start photography. I realised that I'm interested in people and that I can shoot them on the street very easily and without "preparing" them.

FC: Are there aspects of street photography that you don't enjoy?  If so, which ones? How do you deal with them? 

FC: I don't like to talk to people, especially when they start asking questions about what? and why?. I don't like when you start seeing things you have shot already and when it gets difficult to find new stuff. After 5 years of street photography it's getting more difficult every day. I deal with this by travelling and not taking street photography too seriously. I have learned that you don't always have to produce photos and that you just walk down the street watching. 

FC: How to decide between B&W and color? Do you suggest some guidelines for that? 

TL: I have set my camera display in B&W, but I shoot in RAW which results in coloured photos. 99% of the photos I convert into B&W as I don't like color, except there is a strong matching color situation. In the end you have to decide for yourself, what you want to shoot; color or B&W. You should just stick to your decision. Your photo stream is not getting any better when you mix color with B&W.

FC: What's your take on hip photography? 

TL: I don't like shooting from the hip, except when I use the display which gives me full control. Shooting from the hip is mainly for people who don't have the balls to approach people. I shoot from the hip in order to be on eye level with my subject or to choose an interesting point of view. This would be the only reason to do this.

FC: You have been shooting with Olympus cameras for quite some time. Have you tried other gear (for instance, Fujifilm cameras)? Also, have you ever been tempted to shoot film? 

TL: I don't like to talk about gear. I have tried several cameras and all of them did their job. Some did it better others worse. In the end you have to find the tool that matches you. If this is an Olympus, Fujifilm or Leica doesn't really matter. What matters is your eye. If the eye is bad, no camera would help you capturing life on the street. I don't like to shoot film as it is too expensive, takes too long to develop and I don't see an advantage over digital. 

FC: Which street photographers impacted/influenced you the most? 

TL: I was influenced by many people, some of them completely unknown. I like Robert Capa, Vivian Maier and Siegfried Hansen. I am also able to appreciate and like photographs made by photographers that are not famous at all. 

FC: Which advice would you give to Brazilian photographers who are starting at street photography? 

TL: Take the camera you have or your phone and go out to shoot. People tend to talk too much (about gear) and not shoot. You can only get better by training hard and walking a lot. Get your most comfortable shoes on and walk down the street.