Photography : "Live and Uncut" - Episode 38 with Thomas Leuthard

Fast becoming a major influence!


Thomas Leuthard has only been interested in street photography for the 'just' 6 years. But his approach to this genre and his presentations have catapulted him to be one that is highly recommended to follow on the social networks.

Like maybe all of us he started out taking photographs of everything and anything. Doing this he got bored and found it too predictive. Always interested in people so, he decided to get out on the streets and take photographs of the people. Street photography had caught his attention and imagination. Initially if you check his work out, you can see his directness in taking an image / portrait. Walking straight up to a person taking several images then walking on. The captured image of the person shows expression candid and is not posed. He gets in close almost Bruce Gilden like, but not using a flashgun. This closeness doesn't bother Thomas. Yes he's had some confrontations but generally he finds with so many photographers on the street these days with smartphones, this doesn't happen that much these days.

But Thomas Leuthard's work is just not candid portraits, showing surprised reactions. His work is developing into an all round street photographer. One that shows the street activity street abstracts light and shadow, but all contain one major thing, a person the human form. He is quite happy to set things up for an image. Tying up the pull cords for the shower, waiting for someone to jump the puddles (Ala Cartier-Bresson) or simply waiting for an opportune moment at a staged position for passers-by to walk into the frame. Timing is essential in photography as Thomas told me sometimes you can be too slow, you see the image you should take it straight away. Composition is everything in his images as we saw in the screen share when we talked about the boys playing football... The wall is essential in this image.

Thomas is now invited to many events to present his work, which he prefers to do rather than set up workshops. Even though he is now doing 7 or 8 workshops a year! It's an intense workshop with Thomas! Involving homework prior to the event, a walkabout then some editing, a critic session and then some assignments. Superb! What a way to do a workshop...

We talked at length with regard 'Privacy and Publishing'. There are many people concerned about this subject. Can the images be used? Can they be used for social network posting; book publishing or for consignments and advertising work. I think we covered this as best we could. Privacy laws do differ from country to country as we know in Hungary it is now illegal to take photographs of individuals in the street without their permission. But, I think it would be safe to say that street and candid photography is OK to be published to social network sites and books but using the images through an agent for advertisement you will need the signed permission (a licensed agreement).

Thomas is a Mirror-less camera user. He switched from Nikon dSLR 7000 to a Panasonic and then to the Olympus OMD EM-5, EM-1 and eventually the EM-10 with only the 17 and 45mm lenses. He carries two cameras with him at all times. One camera with the 17mm for street and the other with the 45mm for portraits, which gives him the options that he needs on the street. One tip he gives you should stop trying things out all the time. When you go out go with a set theme for that day and try to say with the idea / goal for that particular time choosing, blur, colour, motion or portrait.. It will make the time more enjoyable and more meaningful. Now surprisingly, well for me anyway, he sets his camera up in 'P' mode allowing him to totally concentrate on composition. the one most important ingredient in photography especially street work. What a simple way to work. But so effective as he says no one really asks him what shutter speed or what aperture was used for a particular image. One thing is for sure working this way he is ready for any opportunity.

On the editing front he never spends more than 2 minutes on an image after he his initial editing out the bad images from the set. After 2 minutes work he feels he is chasing the image, it simply is not going to work out. So, he moves on! Again another great piece of advice there, you cannot make a good photo out of a badly taken image...!

Interestingly Thomas in his modesty doesn't really follow other photographers work. He follows some on Flickr but, if there was one it would be Siegfried Hansen a photographer from Hamburg. Thomas says (having been out with him) the work that Siegfried produces is work that he (Thomas), doesn't know how it sees the image. Inspiration? Well that comes from whatever he is doing, even brushing his teeth he gets an idea and goes out with that intent to capture what he has thought of!

An enlightening show. Thomas has become a well known street photographer in such a short time with the use of social networks Youtube Flickr and Google+. A photographer who is prepared to take some risks to achieve his goal of producing excellent Street Photography.

Thank you Thomas.

Until next time... "Leave your camera bag at home"


The all important links

Photography "Live and Uncut" with Thomas Leuthard.


The Thomas Leuthard website

Thomas on Google+

Thomas on You Tube

Thomas on Facebook

Thomas on Twitter

Siegfried Hansen