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Imagine anything - in photography and life. Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.
   
 
   

The Story Behind That Picture: "Imagine"

By: Thorsten Overgaard. November 28, 2019.

 

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Imagine anything - In photography and in life

Photography is magic. For the teenager who finds out that one can create pictures with light and thus preserve moments, it’s quite a magical discovery which puts one on a path to observing and creating.

As much of childhood and youth is spent learning from books and third-party sources, the freedom to make something by yourself will help create character.

For the adult photographer, the magic is no less. I often meet people who have lived a successful life inside a corporation, finding a new world of freedom outside the office, with a camera.

 

© Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

You can pin down the simplicity of photography, and why it is so fascinating, to the ability to prevision a picture, and then make it.

It is so simple that the magic of it is overlooked, but here is why it is so special: You make the photo!



Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

You may think you are photographing something that is, and by that we mean something everybody can see and can photograph. That’s the concept most people have; that somebody else could do the same, and maybe even better.

We tend to think that someone else have more experience, better equipment and more talent, so what we do is just something anyone could do.

Well, think again!

 

© Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The fact is that – and I know this from working with over thousands of photographers around the world of all ages and backgrounds – every photo is different. Nobody sees the world the same, and when preserved through a lens, the result reflects your viewpoint, your vision, your personality.

 


Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 BC. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

When you take a photograph you create something unique. Art is the world seen through the soul, and even if you don’t feel it is art that you’ve just made, it’s certainly your soul and personality, your visions and dreams, applied to something that exists. That’s how it becomes special and unique. How it becomes uniquely you.

In terms of career choice as a photographer, or being a professional, it makes it very easy: The moment you pick up a camera, you’ve got that unique viewpoint. When you pick up a camera and press the shutter, your photos will reflect who you are, and you are your photos.

 

Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 LHSA. San Francisco. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 LHSA. San Francisco. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

To love photography

For the amateur, it’s not about making money. Amateur simply means that it is unpaid, not that it’s not good. You can be a great photographer and not care if it pays the rent. You probably have another gig that takes full care of that part. Photography is your freedom. The word amateur comes from Latin and means “to love”, so in that sense, the amateur might often be a better photographer because he does it for love and not survival.

 

Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0. © Thorsten Overgaard
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0. © Thorsten Overgaard

 

Create what you want

I talk about the magic of photography, but what is it really? Well, if we look beyond the fascination of cameras and their features, the optical glass within lenses (which can be as beautiful as a Norwegian lake to look deep into), and all the technical stuff of angles and proportions, it comes down to a very simple concept: The creation of an idea and making it into reality.

 

© Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

That is what you do. You get out of the usual life of push-messages, meeting schedules and diapers that have to be changed, and you get to be alone with a camera. You get to observe things, wonder about them, construct ideas and make them into new realities.

What you really do is you envision something, and then when you take the camera to your eye, you preserve that vision. You make it into a reality which you can keep and a reality you can share with others, who in return can admire it, and for a short moment get lost in and live in that vision you have made.

 

Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25. © Thorsten Overgaard.

Take it further

If you think about it, you could expand that ability that you clearly and naturally have to envision and make unique photographs, into creating anything unique.

There is what there is, but then there is what we create. That’s why artists are valuable for any society; they create the tomorrow. They envision, and they make it.

 

Artists are valuable for any society; they create the tomorrow. Leiac 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Artists are valuable for any society; they create the tomorrow. Leiac 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Some people buy a horse to go places, or they have to walk if they can’t afford one. Or they stay home because it’s too much work to go anywhere. Other people envision an underground train and make it into reality, which is how we got the underground trains. As simple as that.

Imagine you can expand your ability to see and create photographs, to creating anything. The ability to compose what you see or know exists around you, into something new and unique. I would dare say you can.

 

Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Anything you can imagine, you can be.

I recently thought about people I had met and talked to. There was a girl I met way back when, who I spoke with for just a few hours over some days. I told her how I think one should do what one loves, be independent and be free to do it anywhere in the world.

I’m not a spokesperson for working less or making so much money that you don’t have to work. I’m more in the direction of working all the time, towards goals you have chosen for yourself, and doing it with love and passion because it pleases you. That is invaluable, and funny enough (and well deserved), people who have the most passion and love for what they do are often also the people we want to work with and buy things from, so they do great as long as they surround themselves with good people and avoid ‘anchors’ (people who keep you down) or ‘blood suckers’ (people who suck your energy because they can’t create their own). Income is a bi-product of passion. You meet a passionate taxi driver who loves what he does and who does it with pride. You want to drive with him.

 

Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

There’s a big difference between eating in the restaurant driven by passion and the restaurant set up to make money by selling food made without passion. In that case you can simply taste the difference!

If you can imagine a photo and make it reality, you can imagine anything and make it reality. You can make your life an art. The young girl I mentioned before, I spoke with again a couple of years later, and she had made her life just like that. She was now the owner of a business without any location, having people working for her, making good money and enjoying the freedom of doing what she liked, anywhere and anytime she wanted to – and she was independent because she made good money and she was the one running the show (not the show running her, and no boss to run her either). I checked in on her recently, and she’s still at it and doing even better.

That made me proud, to know that I inspired that. She had it in her of course. She saw the life she could create, and she made it into a reality.

 

Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Make life an art

In that sense, photography is magic. It’s the kindergarten of making life into an art. You learn to observe what is, you somehow envision what desirable new reality could be made of it, and then you make it.

I don’t know where the ideas about what could be, comes from, except that they come from oneself, and it’s an ability we all have.

It’s so simple that people tend to make it more complicated and stumble in it. But that’s the simplicity of it. It’s you who creates, and the simpler you make the route from vision to reality, the easier and simpler it is.

 

Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

I hope I inspired you today to not just “Always Wear a Camera” but also to look around and see what you can make of magic in life. As always, feel free to email me with questions, ideas and suggestions.

 

Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 

Thorsten Overgaard
#1981-1019


 


   
   

 

 
 

 

 

   
   
   

 

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Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
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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
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Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
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Above: Imagine anything - in photography and life. Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 

 

Photo: Sheikh Khalid Al-Thani.
Photo: Sheikh Khalid Al-Thani.

Thorsten Overgaard is a Danish born photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing for magazines and teaching workshops which cater to Leica enthusiasts. You can follow him at his television channel www.magicoflight.tv

 

 

 





 


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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 thorsten@overgaard.dk for
advice, ideas or improvements.

 

 
           
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