From the Editors: Thomas Leuthard is a passionate street photographer based in the heart of Switzerland. He travels the world to witness and document life on the street. For Thomas street photography is not only about catching the soul of strangers, it’s also about experiencing life in places around the world and to make new friends.
It was Summer 2008 and I could work at the Olympic in Beijing for my former employer Johnson & Johnson which was one of the main sponsors of the games. I was amazed what is going on on the streets of that city. I have a super-zoom bridge camera with me and took a lot of photographs. It still took me a while after that event to get fully into street photography, but it was the trigger.
Well street photography is a kind of free style. You can do what you want and you don't have to follow any rules. But you still have to appeal the eye of your audience in order they like it. The more aesthetic and authentic your photos are, the better the reaction will be. If you fail a certain aesthetic you will also fail in street photography.
People together with urban architecture where the person in the frame is often a very small part catching the eye of the viewer. The themes or interests are changing over time. Some years ago I was mainly shooting candid portraits, until I figured out that you don't see a story, when you are too close. It's all about interest and phases that happen over time. This is being reflected in my work.
I always suggest to people in my workshops to work on projects. But for myself, I never follow that suggestion. 99% of my photos are single frames, but some of them match together in a wider context. I can combine single shots from different cities into one topic like people at the train station or public transport in general. I think it's a different approach when you shoot single images versus projects. Still you can have long term projects collecting single images over time.
My goal is to do post processing within 60 seconds as it doesn't need more time. If you spend too much time, there something wrong with the photograph. I even think to skip computer based post processing and start shooting JPG and do the work on my phone or tablet. But this is still a big step after some years of with RAW files.
I publish about one photo per day on my social media channels. Those are currently Flickr, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. I have my own website with information about my workshops and video trainings.
For me those channels are very important. Without social media basically nobody would be able to see my work. I don't do offline publishing.
Motivation is one of the biggest challenges. There are times when I'm not motivated at all. Then it helps not to think about photography for a while. It also helps to travel and to explore new cities, because shooting in the same places get boring. I also try to get new ideas with creative projects, where you try a certain technique. I sometimes also just look for one color which I try to repeat as often as possible in one single frame.
They should get inspired to go out and shoot. They should learn how to get more creative and see the world from a different perspective. I also hope to bring people from all over the world together for just one thing, like shooting in the street.
There are many techniques in street photography. It's difficult to just pick one. I like to shoot people sitting in a cafe behind a glass window. When you shoot such a subject, you get a lot of reflections from the outside which looks pretty interesting.
It's basically pretty easy. You go out, shoot 100 unique photos, delete 99 of them and publish just 1. When you do that every day, you get better pretty fast. What I want to say is that you can only improve by practicing a lot. A lot of people think, it's the camera or any thing else. Basically it the amount of hours you spent shooting and the amount of frames you are taking. So you could also shoot until the shutter of your camera breaks, which means more than 100'000 shots.
Thank you Thomas for taking the time to do this interview.
We are happy to welcome you on board among other photographers.
Your photography is very valuable in this community and very beneficial for our readers.