How can street photography be pushed past the obvious? IMAGO’s independent photographer Mika Volkmann sees what many do not. IMAGO spoke to him about his street photography secrets and what drives him behind the camera.
“It’s a bit like driving a car. It is so in the flesh and blood…Aesthetics, play of light with shadows, silhouettes or interesting lighting conditions and color relationships,” said Mika Volkmann in an interview with IMAGO. For this month’s series Colour, Candid & the Street, we asked him some of his street photography secrets and inspirations for capturing unique angles and overlooked moments.
He is no rookie. Based in Cologne and raised by photographers, Volkmann has dipped his toes into various types of photography from sport, with a focus on para-athletes, to events, portrait shoots and of course street photography.
“To photograph means for me to live in a free way, to meet people, to be open and to develop myself. With street photography I like to capture the soul of a city, or a part of it, as I see and experience a place.”
“To photograph means for me to live in a free way, to meet people, to be open and to develop myself. With street photography I like to capture the soul of a city, or a part of it, as I see and experience a place,” said Volkmann.
One of his street photography secrets lies in the art of patience and anticipation. He does not look for anything specific, but rather surrenders himself to the place he is photographing: “I just go out and the motifs tend to find me.”
Volkmann said that he finds a lot of his inspiration for street photography in foreign countries that offer a new aesthetic environment. “I also get inspiration from exchanging ideas with other photographers. Next on my agenda is New York, photographed a thousand times by others, but not yet through my eyes!”
Recently, his street photography from outside the Tokyo Paralympics venues were nominated for the Fine Arts Photography photojournalism award – but it is the athletes he said, who impressed him the most. “I want to capture people’s stories and bring them closer to others. If I could take a page out of their book, then I would be a top photographer.”