This is the ongoing journal of my travels, photography, experience with people, places and equipment.
A video teaser
Denmark, January 1, 2013:
We picked up a Leica D-Lux-6 camera at Meister Camera in Hamburg (from a singing and dancing employee - very ungerman!) just before we left for Athens, Solms and London. I will be writing about the Leica D-Lux 6 later, but so far we used it for video recordings.
New update to the Worlds (Possibly) Longest Camera Review
I headed to Athens right after New Years to shoot for a magazine. A lot of atmosphere, portraits and some volunteer work in Athens.
Acropolis, Athens. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Nocilux-M ASPH f/0.95
"The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated," as Paul McCartney said. Likewise it seem to be the case with Greece. I hadn't been to Greece since I was there three times when I was between 7 and 14 years old. The buldings and streets in Athens have much in common with Italy, but very clean, and their new hotels and restaurants are simply very cool. And a 5-star hotel can be gotten for 120-160 Euro per night.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart Thorsten von Overgaard and Princess Joy Villa for your amazing work and invaluable help in Greece! Thorsten came to photograph shots of Greece and our volunteers for an article which is being published soon in a magazine with all the efforts and effects we have been creating to our country! My home country is thanking you."
We had a few days to acclimate in Denmark after 7 weeks in Asia in November and December, so we were almost ready for the near-snow-experience of London and the years first workshop. The 'problem' of 2013 will be to make my travel so effective I can do my workshops, assignments and also get time to write a book.
The team in the Boardroom of the Fitzroy House in London: Thorsten von Overgaard, David Ringel, Matthew Montgomery (in Joy's fur coat), Joy Villa, Robert Lemm, Jack Tyson, Patrick Arends, Barrie Gledden, Jamie Dolan and Peter Marsh. Leica M Monochrom with Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4.
"I really enjoyed those 4 days in London. The workshop was truly very valuable! A big thank you to your Thorsten, Joy and everyone as I found that the atmosphere and team vibe were exceptionally good. Looking forward to staying in contact with you guys, and perhaps there is another chance to get together... all the best from the crazy German ;-)"
On the last day we had makeup artist Jack Tyson and his assistant Peter Marsh, whom we had worked with in Tokyo, come in and do makeup on Joy Villa for out shoot. We also borrowed some jewrelry from Creative Solutions Gallery in London.
"Again, thank you all for that very special combination of learning and team spirit during the time in London! Next week I will pick up my new Noctilux in Hamburg. I really miss that very special rendering in the other pictures I took without it. See you the next time around whenever we have a chance to meet!"
- R. L. (Germany)
So whilst we went out to do some portrait shooting in a very cold London day, they prepared for the model shoot.
Doing portraits: Everybody gets to shoot a portrait, some times everybody also gets to be the model for the others. Here it is Robert Lemm from Germany who shoots Barrie Gledden while Patrick Arends takes care of the light and Matthew Montgomery does the sound effects.
"Thanks a lot for your blog and reviews. I appreciate very much reading them. They give orientation without being pixel-peeping fetishism. In the end it should be about picturetaking (and a bit about gear)..."
- D. K. (Germany)
Not my kids!
LONDON, January 11, 2013:
The other day, a lady with a trolley stopped to tell me that she hoped that I "was just testing my focus on the wall." It was a rather weird discussion because she knew that I was allowed to photograph but anyways wanted to make sure I didn't photograph her kids.
In case you wonder what your rights are, you can read them below, for both the US and UK which are similar. You can basically photograph anybody in public. I have them on my iPad in case I meet an official who don't know the rules. Also, read the article, "There is no law against photographing children" from The Telegraph.
1. You can make a photograph of anything and anyone on any public property (streets, sidewalks, town squares, parks, government buildings open to the public, and public libraries), except where a specific law prohibits it
2. You may shoot on private property if it is open to the public (malls, retail stores, restaurants, banks, and office building lobbies), but you are obligated to stop if the owner requests it.
3. Private property owners can prevent photography ON their property, but not photography OF their property from a public location.
4. Anyone can be photographed without consent when they are in a public place unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
e.g. private homes, restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities, and phone booths.
5. Despite common misconceptions, the following subjects are almost always permissible:
- Bccidents, fire scenes, criminal activities.
- Children, celebrities, law enforcement officer.
- Bridges, infrastructure, transportation facilities.
- Residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
6. Security is rarely an acceptable reason for restricting photography. Photographing from a public place cannot infringe on trade secrets, nor is it terrorist activity.
7. Private parties cannot detain you against your will unless a serious crime was committed in their presence. Those that do so may be subject to criminal and civil charges.
8. It is a crime for someone to threaten injury, detention, confiscation, or arrest because you are making photographs.
9. You are not obligated to provide your identity or reason for photographing unless questioned by a law enforcement officer and state law requires it.
10. Private parties have no right to confiscate your equipment without a court order. Even law enforcement officers must obtain a court order unless making an arrest.
No one can force you to delete photos you have made.
These are general guidelines regarding the right to make photos and should not be interpreted as legal advice. The guide is provided without warranty as to the accuracy of the information it contains. The author, publisher and distributor of this guide will not be held responsible for any loss suffered by any person that is directly or indirectly attributable to reliance on the information contained in this guide.
If you are stopped and searched under section 44 of the Terrorism Act (currently suspended and under review), you do not have to give your:
Name, Address, Date of Birth, DNA or Reason for being there. Nor do you have to explain where you are going.
However, if the police decide that there is reasonable suspicion to arrest you for an offence, you do have to give your name and address.
You do not have to comply with any attempt to photograph you, although you cannot flee the scene.
The Police cannot delete any images on your camera. They can only view them in very limited circumstances.
If you are driving a vehicle, when stopped you must give your name and address.
Failure to stop or obstructing a police constable acting under section 44 is a criminal offence.
Under section 44, a police constable in uniform is entitled to: Pat you down. Detain you for the duration of the search. Remove outer clothing. Require you to remove any item which he reasonably believes you are wearing to conceal your identity.
Look through your pockets and anything you are carrying.
Seize any article he reasonably suspects is intended to be used in connection with terrorism.
Search your vehicle and anyone in it.
What You Should Do
- Insist on a written record of the search.
- Make sure it is legible and includes details of the officers' shoulder number and the reason for the stop.
- Note exactly why they said you were being stopped and searched (this may be more extensive than the reference in the record slip).
- Ask to see the officers' warrant card and note the number. (This is useful when making a complaint if they have moved stations and their shoulder number changes)
- A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) may not perform a section 44 search without a police officer present.
- It is not against the law to photograph police, vehicles or equipment, unless the images are "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".
- It is not against the law to take photographs in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place.
- Although it is rarely used, the Official Secrets Act prohibits photography that threatens the security of the state. This includes:
- Military establishments and munitions stores, aircraft and ships.
- Civil Aviation property and naval dockyards.
Railways, road, waterway, power stations, waterworks and nuclear power stations that have been defined as prohibited places by the Secretary of State.
- Telephone exchanges and communications centres operated by the Crown.
- Anywhere else that is a prohibited place by order of the Secretary of State.
- You can photograph private property if you are on public property or a public right of way.
- Private property owners may impose restrictions on photography, this only applies to photographs taken from somewhere on their property. Restrictions may not always be obvious but will still apply. They cannot be imposed after the photography has occurred.
- Private property owners or their agents (for example security guards) may not view or delete images on your camera or demand your name and address. They may require you to leave immediately and by the most direct route without giving any reason if they choose.
- There is no right to privacy in a public place, however, there are circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, particularly if they are inside their own home. Childrens privacy rights are particularly protected. You therefore need to be aware that publication without consent may leave you open to legal action. (In Denmark, as an example, it is illegal to photograph in through windows - open or closed).
We try to arrange Artists Nights where we go. The last one was in Perth in Australia in December. The idea is basically that artists get together and stuff happens. This time we had musicians, actors, writers, photographers, visual artists, art dealers ... and ... the face of Italian Vogue. Plus a few more. Stay tuned for more Artists Nights!
Some of the gathered artists at the Artists Night London
"Thank you both for a very enjoyable evening, it was a pleasure to meet so many talented people"
- G. C. (UK)
Joy Villa performing her original song Cold Wind at the Artists Night in London.
I had a friend from Munich asking me how he could get on with his photography some months ago, and I mailed him that one would improve if one had a purpose. Today he asked me by Facebook chat, "What is your purpose?"
"I think the basic purpose is recording and preserving. That is what everyone have when they photograph.
Then it can move into adding aesthetics and an unique viewpoint.
"And the more you find out that your viewpoint is unique and that it counts, the more important it is that YOU record and preserve what that viewpoint sees"
We are talking about what energy fires up your production as a photographer, no matter what level you are at, paid or not.
Later in the day I stumbled over a blog post from Chick Corea about how he found time to practice. This is intersting. Amongst other, he says:
"The main thing that I can see about practicing—and it's also true about playing—is that the very basis of practicing, and knowing "when" and "how" and all of that, stems from first having an intention to advance, an intention to improve." See the rest of this on the Cheap Advice on chickcorea.com
Learning new tricks about light in the desert of Qatar
DOHA, Qatar, January 19-27, 2013:
I will be in Doha for a little more than a week, shooting a lot in the desrt and in low light. The light in the morning and just before sunset is quite special.
Qatar is one of the richest countries of Earth, only 250,000 people (plus about a million foreigners to get the work done), growth is 19% a year.
I am here for 9 days shooting in the desert.
Setting up a tent to make a camp in the desert, Saturday January 19 at 16.00. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 (II)
Today the camels arrived. We'll be shooting with them later. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 (II)
Working with composition in the desert of Qatar.
Spending every night out in the desert shooting with film and digital Leicas in low light from the moon. So we use a flashlight for focusing. Leica M Monochrom with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
We are working with light and composition.
My new Leica D-Lux 6 travels with me for later review but also documents on video for later use. Here Khalid is doing an instragram (that got 400+ likes on Instragram)
Exactly 14 hours after I had been photographing camels and Arabic horses under the moonlight of Qatar, I had flown via Frankfurt home and was standing with Louise Dubiel in cold Denmark.
Louise Dubiel had rested a good long night after four days of Eurovision Song Contest where she had performed live for a few million Danish television viewers on Saturday, 36 hours before. Joy Villa and hairdresser Matilde Fly Nygaard worked on hair and makeup all morning before I arrived from the aiport.
The CD with the new cover and possibly some more photos inside will appear in the spring. For now, here is one of the photos I liked that will most likely not make it into the final CD design.
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator.
Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.