Magnum Photos and the Joy of Tourism

A photographer at the Magnum exhibition "Battleground/Afghanistan" by Kunstverein Heidelberg. The rather bitter exhibit shows pictures of Abbas, Chris Steele-Perkins, Thomas Dworzak, SteveMcCurry and other Magnum (war) photographers.
A photographer at the Magnum exhibition "Battleground/Afghanistan" by Kunstverein Heidelberg. The rather bitter exhibit shows pictures of Abbas, Chris Steele-Perkins, Thomas Dworzak, SteveMcCurry and other Magnum (war) photographers.

Magnum Photos - Home of the Brave

 

What do legendary photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and Josef Koudelka have in common? They were all part of Magnum Photos, perhaps the world´s most exclusive Photo Agency.

As Magnum offers an educational program throughout the world, I had applied for a 4-day workshop in Heidelberg conducted by Chris Steele-Perkins. I was accepted and couldn´t wait for the seminar to begin. In fact, the workshop turned out to be incredibly challenging for me, but also of great inspiration and learning. In fact, I feel I made a leap in my photographic aptitude I could never have achieved by just going on like before. 

While these days were 16 hours workdays with strong productive criticism among the group, there was a camaraderie, mutual respect and friendship that´s been resonating in the heart for days after the workshop was over. 

 

 

 

An exceptional learning experience

Chris´ method of teaching was simple and ingenious at the same time. Each participant had chosen a subject matter to work on - and was to present his 10-20 best shots before the group on the following day. What followed was a collective process of editing and discussion: What makes this picture better than that one? How could the mistakes of the later one have been avoided? Which images could supplement the series on the following day of work? It was emotional, it was intense, and man did we laugh with one another. I have to emphasize: If you ever have the chance to attend a workshop with Chris Steele-Perkins as a documentary photographer who wants to challenge himself to step up - go do it. Not only is Chris a weathered, world renowned Master Photographer, he is also a charming, adorable teacher with just as much sternness as empathy for his students. I just hope that us participants manage to stay loosely in touch.

What did come out of it apart from great inspiration, a leap in aptitude, new friends, and new ideas?  

 

 The Joy of Tourism 

Thinking of Heidelberg meant thinking of plenty of international tourists. Even in Frankfurt, I am fascinated everytime I visit the Römer and there are dozens of people photographing each other before the one building or the other. My curiosity was triggered: Which facets can be found when pursuing the issue intensively over the course of several days? 

Tourism is more than sightseeing –it is also a form of reconfirming one´s own existence by comparing foreign realities with one´s  own mental pictures.

Gently viewed from this perspective, a busload of noisy tourists quickly becomes a group of sympathetic, soul-searching individuals...see the pictures.

 

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