Roots & Beginnings
While beginning a new chapter in my life, I could not help but reflecting the journey behind and I just felt right to write down some of the thoughts that came to mind, bringing them together in this very first post on this public journal. I´ve no real experience in journalism what so ever and my orthography has never ever been my strongest suit, but doing this is not only for you people out there but also for myself. So I´ll just give it a try and hope some of you might enjoy. Photography is Life.
I still remember my very first own camera. It was weirdly green, made of plastic and came in a package that already included a film so it basically looked more like a toy, almost like one of those Kodak Oneway Cams, that are again getting more and more popular these days, since they’re all retro.
My dad, who has been into photography for a long time back then, and whose analog cameras are still surrounding me in my apartment in Berlin now, tried to teach me some of the basics on how to use this beast of a camera, but since it only had one button (the shutter button) it was not that hard to handle. I remember, taking it to school trips and to our house in Brittany, France, and I still do have a couple of shots taken with this machine, but believe me, they are as random as only possible. No composition, no idea, pure randomness. Still I aways was excited to see how the shots turned out after bringing them to good old Rossmann photo station, waiting days, sometimes weeks for the results.
I can´t remember what happened to the green dream of a cam but I do remember that it got replaced by a silver Kodak, that actually even looked kinda like a camera and had a respectable total of three buttons, plus a hand strap. Felt pretty professional with that one, believe me. Nevertheless, the shots did not get better at all, it´s been poorly exposed Atlantic sunsets, school trips and oh, one major thing: I used to take pictures of the LEGO worlds I created. Great builds but not so great pictures.
Things got a little more serious back in 2005 when I started using my beloved Sony Ericsson flip phone and its banging 1,3 megapixel camera, to actually start to make use of essentials like composition and focus, rather then just point and shoot of whatever comes across. I remember taking some sunset shots just above the surface of the Atlantic with that badboy, and damn was I proud of those.
It might have been a key factor of motivation for fifteen year old Maximilian, to be able to see the things he shoots right away on screen. It got my creativity flowing and that camera phone became used quite often. I remember an entire school project been shot on that thing.
The evolution of my photography game continued with a Sony DSC Cybershot, my dearest wish for Christmas back in the days. It came true and so did my ambitions in taken photographs. Sure, there was still a lot of point an shoot going on but I got more and more into it and started to teach myself some basic Adobe Photoshop Skills. Nothing special, but layers, tone curves and most importantly HDR. I think everyone who started digital photography back then tried it, at least once (otherwise they’re lying). It´s that beautiful style that, even if you’re well trained using it, does make your pictures look like really cheap renderings. Way too extreme, way too unnatural. But you know, other people tried drugs, I tried that.
Instead of roaming the country or even the planet I mainly used it to shoot at parties, collecting memories of my teens. Taking the kind of group selfie shots one would take with a smartphone nowadays.
Still, whenever I was at the Atlantic Ocean, I did take some fine landscape too and got more and more into it. I remember a brilliant cloud situation illuminated by the setting since right over the ocean and our house in Brittany, it must have been my favorite shot by far back then. Unfortunately I never heard of data backup back then and lost most of my pictures in a data crash in 2008. Its been devastating and ever since I am a bit paranoid about backups and probably spend way too much on external harddrives. But the lesson had been learned and looking back, I´m happy that I learned it back then instead of years later with some real quality on the drives.
After graduating Highschool I went on a roadtrip trough Europe, with my three best friends, traveling the Alps, Italy, Spain and France and we saw some pretty amazing places along the way. Since no smartphone were around back then, I happened to be the only one bringing a camera and I got a taste on how it feels being the photographer within a group – always being last, spending lots of time with the camera only and in the end everybody is making for “all the pictures one has taken”.
I started looking into a photographic view more and more these days, but as you can see, the shots were still quite generic. Shooting what I saw, not thinking about how to compose it or make it somehow appealing. Also the panorama HDR shot from Barcelona Harbour represents my experimental phase in Photoshop back in those days. I was so impressed with everything the software (and proud past me) could do, that I really had to try it all. In my defense, I gotta say, that Panorama and HDR were much more en vogue back in those days. Still worse than any “moody” instagram presets you can buy these days, if you ask me.
I will keep both the Sony Ericsson and the Cybershot around, as long as possible to document my photographical journey.
Still the day eventually arrived, that I felt the need for more creative freedom and image quality, so I took a giant leap forward…
To be continued.
Stay tuned for Part II