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D. Zundel by Thorsten Overgaard. © 2019 Thorsten Overgaard.

The Story Behind That Picture:
"We now take readers letters"

By: Thorsten Overgaard. August 10, 2019.


Add to Flipboard Magazine.

A letter from a reader

I generally get a lot of nice emails, messages, comments and other communications. And so, I try to copy them to my notebook so that I can include them in my On the Road with Thorsten Overgaard.

A few days ago I got this – let’s call it a reader’s letter – which was a little longer than the usual commentary feedback.

It would be a pity if only I got to read it, so here it is in its entirety. Enjoy!



Dear Thorsten, 

I wanted to write this quick note to let you know that I greatly appreciate what you do and I really appreciate how you've changed my photography and given me new inspiration. 

I was thinking about this the other day and I realized: 
a) I have read each of Thorsten's eBooks (several times through actually). Cover to proverbial cover.
b) I have studied a good 95% of his entire website.
c) I have attended one of Thorsten's workshops (best 4 days ever).
d) I have had portraits of myself taken by Thorsten. He really captured me...and that isn’t easy! My wife LOVES the photos. 

I must admit, when I first met Thorsten in the UK (in 2008) to help as a gaffer while he photographed Kelly Preston, I had no idea he and I would ever cross paths again. And besides, here was a feature photographer shooting portraits on a Leica R and not a dSLR Nikon or Canon. Who was he kidding?

As a quick aside, just five years prior, my darkroom instructor gave us an assignment to study the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, and it was at that point in time that I came across the Leica M. During my research, I'll never forget my father telling me that every other camera on the market (including the Olympus OM-2 hand-me-down I had just received) could do 95%-98% of what a Leica could do for a significantly lower cost (and was therefore more practical). To be sure, some cameras might be more practical for a sports photographer, etc.

Having done my research, I knew of the mystique surrounding the Leica. Alas, the Leica was quickly shunted due to the price tag and me being a high-school student.  From this point forward I never considered using a Leica until over a decade later.

Needless to say, I was surprised to see someone such as Thorsten shooting a professional assignment with a Leica ... and no, Thorsten wasn't just some rich hobbyist. The photo he captured was stunning. Definitely a professional. And he worked fast, like, ten minutes maximum for the portrait. 

Kelly Preston in Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld, by Thorsten Overgaard. Leica R9 DMR with 35-70mm f/2.8.
Kelly Preston in Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld, by Thorsten Overgaard. Leica R9 DMR with 35-70mm f/2.8.


I didn't have much time to delve into any further Leica research at that point. Besides, Nikon had just released their Nikon D3 and that was the camera to have to cover any assignment, anywhere.

I had been keeping tabs on Thorsten over the years via his website, and somehow missed him when he came within a stone's throw of my office in Sydney in 2014.

Fast forward to 2016 and I'm still in Sydney, Australia. I was given a portrait assignment and the samples I was given as my art direction were undoubtedly shot by Thorsten Overgaard with a Summilux or Noctilux.

Hmm, in order to match the existing photos for consistency I would have to use a Leica. I did some research on Google and came across John Laham, a wedding photographer who shot exclusively with a Noctilux.

After having done twelve portraits in a day a half, I found myself one photo short ... and the client was in Melbourne. I found a Leica to hire, flew to Melbourne, and let me put it this way ... oh, the love affair began!

That Leica M 240 camera changed my life. The camera was so raw, so unforgiving, yet it did what it was supposed to. Capture light. It was at this point that my photography took off in an entirely different direction: in the pursuit of light.

Having since hired a Leica for a wedding, a vacation, a New Year's party, and for a workshop, I've found what I didn't know I was looking for. In addition, I had been studying everything Thorsten has written on the subject of photography and realized the missing element in my photography. The magic of light, and simplicity.

I bumped into Thorsten in Los Angeles nine years after our first encounter in the UK. I was surprised to find myself speaking with a very distinguished, intelligent and humble man who gave very practical and sound advice. No bullshit. Just straight talk.

Studying and working with Thorsten since then has finally given me the basics in photography and has finally made the subject simple and straightforward.

Don't get me wrong, I could already compose a picture, I could focus the camera, I could set the camera's exposure, I could edit in Lightroom – I could essentially make a picture.

However, I always felt there was something lacking. Prior to this, photography for me was: ensuring that I had: a photo in focus, an exotic location, a cool background, a properly set exposure, had decided between an f/4 lens and f/2.8 lens, had decided how much bokeh I wanted, how many frames per second I’d shoot, how many megapixels did I need, which professionals endorsed the camera, what memory card would keep my photos safe, could I make my digital pictures look analog, was my lighting ratio correct, did I have the right size lighting umbrella, could I fix it in post-production, etc. etc. 

At first I wanted a camera that could take a photo of anything, anywhere and make it look magical. Now I want a camera that captures light; one that doesn't get in my way with 400 buttons or 62 different menus.

Thanks to you, Thorsten, I see photography for what it really is. The magic of light.

I catch myself throughout the day holding out my hand and checking the light, making notes, and carrying on.

It no longer matters about having a cool background, or the right this, or the right that...or 80 pounds of gear that I recently traveled to the UK with. As long as I have the right light and a lightproof box (the camera), the photos turn out.

It's really quite simple and has allowed me to capture things I would not otherwise have captured. You've opened my eyes to a whole new world.

I took the M10 for a test drive recently and just by walking around the block I was surprised at what photo opportunities there were. I've never shot so much in such a small amount of time. I am a changed man.

As for my workflow. Fast and simple with Capture One. I love every minute of it.

I attended your workshop in June. Less than four months later here I am with seven portraits just published today in a magazine translated in sixteen languages and distributed in over fifty countries.  Ten years ago, I would dream of having my photos published in a magazine. Now I'm living that dream.  This is already a lot longer than I originally intended it to be, but I think you get the idea.


Let me know the next time you're in LA. It's coffee or lunch on me! 

– D. Zundel



Zundel by Thorsten Overgaard.
D. Zundel by Thorsten Overgaard.


More to come

I hope you enjoyed today's Story Behind That Picture. As always, feel free to email me with questions, ideas and suggestions.


Thorsten Overgaard







Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Leica S:
Leica M10   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240   Leica S2 digital medium format
Leica M-D Typ 262 and Leica M60   Leica S digital medium format
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 digital rangefinder    
Leica M Monochrom MM digital rangefinder   Leica Cine Lenses:
Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic
Leica M9-Professional digital rangefinder    
Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder    
Leica M lenses:   Leica SLR cameras:
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica SL 2015 Type 601 mirrorless fullframe
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
    Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
History and overview:   Small Leica cameras:
Leica History   Leica Q full-frame mirrorless
Leica Definitions   Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital rangefinder
Leica Lens Compendium   Leica Digilux 1
Leica Camera Compendium   Leica X
The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus   Leica Sofort instant camera
    Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
    Leica CM 35mm film camera
Photography Knowledge   Thorsten Overgaard books and education:
Calibrating computer screen for photographers   Thorsten Overgaard Masterclasses & Workshops
Quality of Light   Overgaard Lightroom Survival Kit for Lightroom CC/6
Lightmeters   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
White Balance & WhiBal   "Composition in Photography" eBook
Film in Digital Age   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
Dodge and Burn   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
All You Need is Love    
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   "After the Tsunami" Free eBook
X-Rite   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
The Origin of Photography   The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
Case in Point    
The Good Stuff  
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner   "Magic of Light" Television Channel
Leica OSX folder icons   Thorsten von Overgaard YouTube Channel
Leica Photographers:  
Jan Grarup   Riccis Valladares
Henri Cartier-Bresson   Christopher Tribble
Birgit Krippner   Martin Munkácsi
John Botte   Jose Galhoz
Douglas Herr    
Vivian Maier  
Morten Albek    
Byron Prukston    
The Story Behind That Picture:   Thorsten Overgaard on Instagram
More than 100 articles by Thorsten Overgaard   Join the Thorsten Overgaard Mailing List
Thorsten Overgaard Workshop Schedule   Thorsten Overgaard on Twitter
    Thorsten Overgaard on Facebook
Leica Forums and Blogs:    
Leica M10 / M240 / M246 User Forum on Facebook   Heinz Richter's Leica Barnack Berek Blog
The Leica User Forum   Leica Camera AG
Steve Huff Photos (reviews)   Leica Fotopark
Erwin Puts (reviews)   The Leica Pool on Flickr (blog)   Eric Kim (blog)
Luminous Landscape (reviews)   Adam Marelli (blog)
Sean Reid Review (reviews)   Jono Slack
Ken Rockwell (reviews)   Shoot Tokyo (blog)
John Thawley (blog)   Ming Thein (blog)
  I-Shot-It photo competition
The Von Overgaard Gallery Store:    
Hardware for Photography   Von Overgaard Ventilated lens shades:
Software for Photography   Ventilated Shade for Current 35mm Summilux FLE
Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade for older Leica 35mm/1.4 lenses
Mega Size Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade for Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH
Mega Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade E43 for older 50mm Summilux
Medium Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for 35mm Summicron-M ASPH
Small Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for older 35mm/f2 lenses
Commisioning Thorsten Overgaard Worldwide   Ventilated Shade for 50mm Summicron lenses
Thorsten Overgaard Archive Licencing   Ventilated Shade for Leica 28mm Summilux
Vintage Prints   Ventilated Shade for current 28mm Elmarti-M
Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
Home School Photography Extension Courses   Ventilated Shade for 75mm Summicron (coming)
Overgaard Workshops & Masterclasses   ventilated Shade E55 for 90mm Summicron
Artists Nights   Ventilated Shade for 28mm Summaron
    Ventilated Shade for 24mm Elmarit
Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated ShadeE60 for 50mm Noctilux and 75/1.4



Above: D. Zundel by Thorsten Overgaard. © 2019 Thorsten Overgaard.










Also visit:

Overgaard Photography Workshops
Von Overgaard Gallery Store
Ventilated Shades by Overgaaard
Leather Camera Straps
Camea Bags
Calfskin Camera Pouches
iPad and Computer Clutches
Leather Writing Pads
Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica Definitions
Leica History
Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon f/3.4
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4

Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
Leica 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz Cine lenses
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica Digilux 2

Leica M10
Leica M10-P
Leica M10-D
Leica M9, M9-P and Leica ME
Leica M 240
Leica M 240 for video
Leica M 262
Leica M-D 262
Leica M Monochrom
Leica M 246 Monochrom

Leica SL
Leica SL2
Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica R9 dSLR
Leica Q
Leica Q2
Leica CL
Leica TL2
Leica Sofort
Leica S digital medium format
Leica X
Light metering
White Balance for More Beauty
Color Meters

Screen Calibration
Which computer to get
Sync'ing photo archive to iPhone
Lightroom Survival Kit
Lightroom Presets by Overgaard
Capture One Survival Kit

Capture One Styles by Overgaard
Signed Original Prints by von Overgaard
The Story Behind That Picture
"On The Road With von Overgaard"

Von Overgaard Masterclasses:
M10 / M9 / M240 / Q / TL2 / S1R /



Overgaard Photo Workshops




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Thorsten Overgaard
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.

Feel free to e-mail to for
advice, ideas or improvements.


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