In this “One Shot” feature, Alex Coghe speaks with Nicole Struppert, a freelance photographer, artist and photo journalist for the dpa Picture-Alliance.
Q: Why did you choose this picture to share for this interview?
A: Well, good question! I have to admit, it wasn’t an easy choice. I guess I chose this picture because I see myself as a visual storyteller. This is not just a candid shot; it tells so much about the time we live in. I felt right away that I had to take this shot.
Q: What camera did you use to take this picture?
A: I used my Leica M8 with a 28 mm Elmarit.
Q: Could you tell us a little of the story behind this photo? Where were you?
A: I took this picture last spring in Zurich. I was walking around with my camera trying to get some candid shots when this scenery came along. I knew immediately that I had to capture this moment.
In this time of modern technology and 24/7 availability, I found that this couple took their time out the old-fashioned way: hiding behind their newspaper, isolated in their own world and having a drink – so simple and peaceful without being distracted by modern technology gadgets. It was one of those few moments you observe in the streets of our time.
Q: What inspires your photography?
A: Well, it might sound cheesy but it is nearly everything. It is everyday life, society, social issues, architecture, landscapes, books, movies, love, humor, shapes, colors and on and on. I also get a lot of inspiration from the work of other photographers and artists. I love the contrast of life, the beauty, but also its downsides. I love to capture unique, intimate moments, simple and abstract images, as well as shots that make the viewer reflect. All my work comes straight from the heart and is a mirror of my inner self.
Q: Why do you use Leica cameras for your work?
A: My father always used Leica. I never understood his passion about it, until I also got infected! A couple of years ago I had a really tough time having two knee surgeries and wasn’t able to walk for nearly two years. Photography was always my passion and during this time I studied a lot about street photography. That was one thing I also wanted to do. I bought my first Leica, a D-Lux 5, and started with street photography. Photography helped me to get back on my feet and to practice walking again. After a few months with the D-Lux 5 I bought a Leica X1, and a bit later the M8.
Leica stands on its own. I love the craftmanship and tradition which stands behind the camera – the love of design and details and, of course, the high image quality. I am currently working on a book of Shoreditch/East London. For that, I have images made with cameras from Leica, Fuji X and Nikon. The print results of the images taken with Leica cameras are in a different league. With the Leica files I don’t have to do lot of editing. The picture comes out the way I want it.
Q: What Leica cameras do you have now?
A: I have a Leica M8 with a 28 mm Elmarit and a 40 mm Summicron-C for most of my B&W shots and a Leica D-Lux 5 for my snapshots.
Q: If you could ask Leica to create a new camera or make improvements to an existing one, what would you ask?
A: I am currently about to minimize my equipment. I love to travel light and want to have just two cameras with me – a snapshot camera and one camera for the more detailed work. I would love to see the D-Lux 5 with a larger sensor and a fast lens for snapshots and lazy days.
And I would love to see an M with a CCD sensor in the body of the M (typ 240). I am currently doing a Leica test drive with the M. I absolutely love the handling of the camera, everything seems to be in the right position, but it seems that I like the file processing of the CCD sensor a bit more. I haven’t finished the testing yet and will explore more of the B&W settings. Most of my work is B&W and I love a contrasty, gritty look. I don’t know if I could get this with the M – the files from my M8 almost look like natural film grain. I know it is nearly impossible to show the same result of a digital image compared to a film image. Film still has a unique texture and character and it always will, but it would be great to have a camera which could do that.
I am sure I will be able to test the Monochrom one day and maybe this is the best camera for me. At the end of the day, a camera is a tool which helps you to present your artistic vision. Leica already has an amazing set of cameras where most of us can find the perfect combo.
Thank you for your time, Nicole!
– Leica Internet Team
Connect with Nicole on her website, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook.
Alex Coghe is an Italian photojournalist currently based in Mexico City whose professional activity ranges from fashion and erotic photography to events. Learn more about Alex’s Nasty project on his website, Tumblr, YouTube and download his guide to Street Photography “THE ART OF SEEING” here and other publications on iTunes. He is also a member of the international photography collective, noise. Check out their work on Tumblr, Facebook and Blurb.