Bobby Anwar lives in the heart of Copenhagen. Istedgade and the whole of Vesterbro is filled with glowing shop signs that elevate the city at night, creating a magical and almost cinematic backdrop for street photographers. More so than ever, this explosion of colour has contributed to the city’s livelihood, maintaining a sense of alleviation when people need it the most. Bobby’s passion for cinematography lead him to explore these empty streets and what he created is a series that feels both colourful and inviting yet depicting an unusual stillness. He captured what he found on his Leica Q.
How did you first get into photography?
I used to work as a graphic designer, so I have always been creative. However, it didn’t seem to fulfil me enough. I have also always been fond of long walks through the city and snapping random photos with my phone. Then, a while back now, a friend introduced me to Instagram and that’s when I knew I wanted to elevate my photography further. To do this I knew I needed a professional camera.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly from films as I have a strong passion for cinematography but as I got more into photography, I started drawing inspiration from old school photographers like Ernst Haas, Saul Leiter and Ray K. Metzker.
When did you first pick up a Leica? And how has your relationship to the brand evolved over the years?
As I started getting more into photography and learning more about different camera gear, I knew the dream was to own a Leica. I got a job at a camera store that sold Leica cameras and from there, I picked up my first digital Leica – the M-P (240). I was in love and have been ever since! My most recent Leica addition is the Leica Q, which has quickly become my constant companion.
What inspired you to try low-light photography?
Well, I like moody and dark scenes. This also draws parallels to the cinematic inspiration I receive from films. I always like to experiment with low-light shooting situations and see how far I can push it.
This low-light series showcases an interesting juxtaposition of colourful and joyous light displays versus an almost silent and empty street atmosphere. What has it been like as a street photographer during the pandemic?
I usually try to shoot with a subject, but the pandemic has pushed me to shoot more architecture and/or more street photography without people in the frame. I try to find positive aspects in negative situations, and I guess subconsciously I do this by photographing light in the dark.
What’s your favourite city to shoot in, besides Copenhagen?
Without a doubt, New York. I can stand on the same street corner for hours and just… shoot.
Why do you like using the Leica Q? Especially for low-light scenes?
Firstly, the lens is insane! The Q also has a built-in stabiliser, which for my shaky hands is a blessing. There is also a low ISO noise, perfect for dim and low-light situations. I literally carry it everywhere with me.
What would you offer as advice to anyone looking to shoot at night?
Be patient. Take some time to look around you and really experience the available light you see. Then shoot. If you keep your eyes and mind open for anything, the rest will follow.