Marcus Reichmann was born in Saxony, Germany. He studied photojournalism at the University of Applied Science and Arts in Hanover and was a photography apprentice. He has traveled to India and Kashmir and been exhibited at the Festival Visa pour l’Image Perpignan 2011 & the Lumix Festival 2012 for young photojournalism in Hanover. His reportage on a young family, who decided to pick up stakes and move to a dilapidated farm in a remote area, can be found in the latest issue of LFI that was released today.
Q: Hi Marcus, how did you first become interested in Leica?
A: I worked in the Berlin Leica Store for two years before I started my studies in Hanover. I bought my first analogue Leica there and got in contact with a lot of professional photographers that shot with Leica and came into the shop. I started to get interested in street and reportage photography so I bought a Leica M8 which I used till last year.
Q: How would you describe your photography? Do you consider your images to be a specific genre?
A: I have no idea how to describe it. In the process of shooting a story there is a lot of gut instinct involved. I try not to think about it too much. Of course I do what I do and how I do it for a reason but to deal with that for me happens after the making of a picture and if people can connect with that, no matter how – perfect. Genre wise, I think they are best described as photojournalism.
Q: Did you have any formal education in photography, with a mentor, or were you self taught. Was there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
A: I studied reportage and documentary photography at the University of Applied Science and Arts in Hannover ,Germany. The community of students and the possibility to show my work and discuss it taught me a lot.
I have a lot of photographers and photographic approaches that I love, that are not necessarily visible in my work. I really admire photographers such as Anders Petersen, Alec Soth, Darcy Padilla, Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tamatsu, Lise Sarfati.
I really just like to look at good photography no matter if it is the same genre that I work in, it is inspiring.
Q: When did you first become interested in photography as a mode of expression, and art form, a profession?
It was all just a series of coincidences. After my school education, I had to apply for jobs and I had no idea what to do. In the small town that I was living in, there was a small photo studio that was searching for an apprentice. I applied for it and the next few years I was taking passport pictures, pictures of weddings and calendars that small town girls liked to present to their boyfriends. It was badly paid and mostly very boring. However, on the side I could do my own stuff and develop it for free. It was good for learning the technical part about photography. After 3 years I was so fed up and sold everything I had and made a trip to India and Kashmir. It was during these travels where I discovered a whole new side of photography, before that it was really just a job for me.
Q: Let’s talk about your feature in LFI. You photographed a family that moved from the city to a rural farm. What was your ultimate goal, or what did you hope to achieve, with shooting these images?
A: I started this project because I was interested in a more personal approach in photography. I wanted to put myself in a situation where I had to leave my comfort zone as a photographer. I had a hard time during my studies to find my place in photography. I was questioning my approach a lot and therefore myself: why am I doing this and what for etc. It can be ridiculous how much photographers depend on the pictures they make. You want to describe your generation or how you see the world but a lot of times you are not much more than a person providing a service for established media. You have to be really careful that you’re not getting compromised by that. (But you also have to eat). You have to stay the master of your pictures and not let somebody else dictate you pictures. This story was my Shangri la in a way, a place where I could do pictures just for me. Also you have a huge responsibility when people let you take such a close look at their private lives, I liked that very much and it taught me a lot also.
Q: What cameras, lenses, equipment did you use to shoot this series?
I used a Leica M8 and M9 with a 35 mm Summicron and a 28 mm Elmarit on the M8 I mainly used an old 21 mm Elmarit. A few pictures were shot with a Canon 5d Mark II and a Leica R Elmarit 28 mm.
Q: Did you want the reader to have a specific reaction or elicit a certain emotion to these photos?
A: I am sure people have very different views on this story or rather on this way of live. I don’t really have an agenda in a way that I want people to change their lives or something. I hope I could show an insight to a way of live that is strange to most people and more important show the bonds of this family and their freedom.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the idea to do this series? Basically, where did the idea come from?
A: Julie, Ivo and I have been friends for about 6 years. We met in Leipzig. When they decided to move to the countryside, I was visiting them and also helped with the house. So naturally I took pictures, I really like them and their kids and also the freedom of this place. I showed the pictures to my friends and professor, they liked it and I started to work on the story more professionally. Also it was a nice excuse to go there so often!
Thank you for your time, Marcus!
– Leica Internet Team
To see more of Marcus’s work, visit his website. Please find Marcus Reichmann’s reportage in LFI 2/2013. Also available for the iPad. Find a reading sample here: http://en.leica-camera.com/news/publication/