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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 von Overgaard
Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M digital cameras:   Leica L digital cameras:
Leica M10   Leica SL
Leica M10-P   Leica SL2
Leica M10-R   Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica M10-D   Leica TL2
Leica M10 Monochrom   Leica CL
Leica M9 and Leica M-E    
Leica M9-P   Leica R digital cameras:
Leica M9 Monochrom   Leica R8/R9/DMR
Leica M240    
Leica M246 Monochrom   Small Leica mirrorless digital cameras:
Leica MD-262 and Leica M60   Leica D-Lux
    Leica C-Lux
Leica M film cameras:   Leica V-Lux
Leica MP   Leica Q2
Leica M4   Leica Q
    Leica Digilux 3
Leica M lenses:   Leica Digilux 2
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica Digilux 1
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica Digilux
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4    
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R film cameras:
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R8 / R9
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica R4
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 FLE   Leica R3 electronic
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0   Leicaflex SL / SLmot
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.2    
7artisans 50mm f/1.1   Leica compact film cameras:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica CM 35mm film camera
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0    
Leica 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8 collapsible   Leica R lenses:
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
7artisans 75mm f/1.25   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.5   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 250mm Telyt-R f/4.0
    Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leitz Cine lenses:   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica Cine lenses from Leitz Cine Wetzlar   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
History and overview:   Leica S digital medium format:
Leica History   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica Definitions   Leica S2
Leica Lens Compendium   Leica S
Leica Camera Compendium    
The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus   "Magic of Light" 4K Television Channel
    Thorsten von Overgaard YouTube Channel
Photography Knowledge   Thorsten Overgaard books and education:
Calibrating computer screen for photographers   Thorsten Overgaard Masterclasses & Workshops
Which Computer for Photographers?   Lightroom Survival Kit (Classic)
What is Copyright? Advice for Photogarphers   Lightroom Presets
Synchronizing Large Photo Archive with iPhone   Capture One Survival Kit
Quality of Light   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Lightmeters   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
White Balance & WhiBal   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
Film in Digital Age   "Composition in Photography" eBook
Dodge and Burn   "A Little Book on Photography" eBook
All You Need is Love   "After the Tsunami" Free eBook
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
X-Rite   The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
The Origin of Photography    
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner    
Leica OSX folder icons    
Leica Photographers:    
Jan Grarup   Riccis Valladares
Henri Cartier-Bresson   Christopher Tribble
Birgit Krippner   Martin Munkácsi
John Botte   Jose Galhoz
Douglas Herr   Milan Swolf
Vivian Maier  
Morten Albek    
Byron Prukston   Richard Avedon
The Story Behind That Picture:   Learn with Thorsten Overgaard:
More than 200 articles by Thorsten Overgaard   Leica M9 Masterclass (video course)
Thorsten Overgaard Workshop Schedule   Leica M10 Masterclass (video course)
    Leica M240 Masterclass (video course)
Leica Forums and Blogs:   Leica Q Masterclass (video course)
Leica M10 / M240 / M246 User Forum on Facebook   Leica Q2 Masterclass (video course)
Jono Slack   Leica TL2 Quick Start (video course)
Sean Reid Review (reviews)   Street Photography Masterclass (video course)
Heinz Richter's Leica Barnack Berek Blog    
I-Shot-It photo competition   Thorsten von Overgaard Free Online Masterclass
Connect with Thorsten Overgaard:   Thorsten von Overgaard Academy Online
Thorsten Overgaard on Instagram   Overgaard Workshops & Masterclasses
Join the Thorsten Overgaard Mailing List   Overgaard One-on-One Training
Thorsten Overgaard on Twitter   Thorsten Overgaard Archive Licencing
Thorsten Overgaard on Facebook   Commisioning Thorsten Overgaard Worldwide
The Von Overgaard Gallery Store:   Von Overgaard Ventilated lens shades:
Ventilated Shades "Always Wear a Camera"   Ventilated Shade for Current 35mm Summilux FLE
Camera Straps "Always Wear a Camera"   Ventilated Shade E46 for old Leica 35mm/1.4 lens
The Von M Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade for Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH
The Von L Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade E43 for older 50mm Summilux
The Von Mini Messenger Walkabout Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade for 35mm Summicron-M ASPH
The Von 24hr Jetsetter Travel Bag   Ventilated Shade for older 35mm/f2 lenses
Desk Blotters 'Always Wear a Camera"   Ventilated Shade E39 for 50mm Summicron lenses
Software for Photography   Ventilated Shade for Leica 28mm Summilux
Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade for current 28mm Elmarit-M
Computer Shade for MacBook Pro   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
Video Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade E49 for 75mm Summicron
Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   ventilated Shade E55 for 90mm Summicron
Home School Photography Extension Courses   Ventilated Shade for 28mm Summaron
  Ventilated Shade for 24mm Elmarit
    Ventilated Shade E60 for 50mm Noctilux and 75/1.4
Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated Shade for Leica Q and Leica Q2



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










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Ventilated Shades by Overgaaard
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Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
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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
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
7artisans 75mm f/1.25
Leica 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
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Leica Digilux 3

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:
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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish born multiple award-winning AP photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops which cater to Leica enthusiasts. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

You can follow him at his television channel and his on-line classroom at

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


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