IMAGO / Joerg Boethling

Meet the Contributor: Jörg Böthling

Meet our contributor, Jörg Böthling. From merchant shipper to photographer. Discovering and documenting our world in all its diversity, covering continents and local neighbor hoods alike.

IMAGO partner and established photographer, Jörg Böthling talks to us about how he started photographing on a six month voyage to India after completing his professional training in merchant shipping. From developing his film images in a dark room on board the ship, to studying visual communication, read all about Jörg’s creative evolution and processes.

Meet this weeks Contributor.

Let’s kick off, how did you get started in photography and why?

After completing my professional training in merchant shipping, I started taking photos in 1985 on a six-month voyage to India. I used my first SLR camera to look for motifs when I went ashore in ports on the subcontinent. I have always been fascinated by other cultures. I tried to capture my impressions in pictures. There was also a darkroom on board, where I developed the black and white films and made enlargements on my own. Since studying visual communication in 1992 I have been working as a freelance photo reporter and have turned my former hobby into a profession. Research trips take me around the world today.

What was your first experience with a camera?

During my nautical training in 1982, I made two 35mm films on a boat trip to West Africa with a borrowed Pentacon Penti II viewfinder camera. A work colleague took a picture of me with the camera at my equator baptism.

IMAGO / Joerg Boethling
Photo: IMAGO / Joerg Boethling

What five words describe your photographic style or captured message?

Documentary, authentic, humanistic, respectful, storytelling.

What is the best element about being a photographer, and most challenging?

The opportunity as a photographer to discover and document our world in all its diversity and thus to authentically capture irretrievable current events in pictures is a great privilege. The challenge is to make pictures that reach and touch other people.

To you, what is the role photography has in the world?

Photography is an important medium to reflect the positive and negative sides of human society, to make them visible and to initiate changes.

“During my nautical training in 1982, I made two 35mm films on a boat trip to West Africa.” – JÖRG BÖTHLING.

What one important lesson has your work taught you?

To have patience, and yet to be vigilant. To have a feeling that the decisive moment is being captured and meaningful images come into the box after research.

What is currently really getting you frustrated or annoyed?

I find the increasing attacks on journalists, cameramen and photographers and also the obstruction of the freedom of the press frustrating.

IMAGO / Joerg Boethling
Photo: IMAGO / Joerg Boethling

If you could photograph any historical event, what would it be and why?

I would have liked to have photographed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent upheavals in Germany, because it was an important and unique event in German history.

What does success look like to you?

To make interesting pictures and reports that are published and rewarded so that I can continue my photographic journey.

What’s your go to album to listen to when you’re working right now?

For several years I have been traveling a lot in Africa, a fascinating continent. I like to listen to Amoudou and Mariam.

Photo: IMAGO / Joerg BoethlingPhoto: IMAGO / Joerg BoethlingPhoto: IMAGO / Joerg BoethlingPhoto: IMAGO / Joerg BoethlingPhoto: IMAGO / Joerg Boethling

Visit our IMAGO site for the full collection from Jörg Böthling including his latest images from Germany or contact us for more information.

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