Mein erstes Mal…

…, dass ich interviewt wurde! 🙂

Kaum zu glauben, jedoch scheint es sich inzwischen schon bis Übersee herumgesprochen zu haben, dass ich ab und an irgendwas mit Fotos zu tun habe :-). Jedenfalls hat mich vor ein paar Wochen Michaël Martinez, der Zimmernachbar von meiner in San Diego studierenden Cousine angeschrieben. Das klang dann in etwa so:

„…I am Elena’s friend and roommate here in San Diego. I take the liberty to contact you because I am doing a research paper and a deep study on photographers. She told me that you are a photographer. I am really into it too and I would love to hear from other people, in order to understand their motivation, their emotions about it and their relation with technology. This is a cross-cultural behavioral study. I would like to know if you would be okay to take part of this study? That would be very helpful for me.“

Ich fand den Gedanken sehr ansprechend und nachdem ich ein wenig auf Michaels Facebook Seite herumgeschaut umsah, habe ich mich mit Michaels Fragen auseinandergesetzt. Bin ich anfangs nach kurzem Ăśberfliegen der Fragen von einer sehr kurzen Geschichte ausgegegangen, ist es im Nachhinein sehr interessant zu beobachten, was es in einem auslöst, wenn die richtigen Fragen gestellt werden. Was die Fotografie fĂĽr einen selbst fĂĽr eine Bedeutung hat, bzw. wie man Entscheidungen trifft und nicht zuletzt, wie man z.B. auf die heutige „Bilderflut“ reagiert und mit der Tatsache umgeht, dass sich im Prinzip jeder fĂĽr geringes Geld eine wirklich gute Kamera leisten kann und so die Grenzen zwischen „ich leiste mir dafĂĽr einen Fotografen“ und „das mach ich selbst – ist billiger“ stetig schwinden. Aber lest selbst…

Cultural and professional approach on technology acceptance among photographers

During this interview, I will ask you questions in order to understand your deep impressions and feelings about photography. So please, share your thoughts, opinions and feelings about the following topics. Also, answer me as if I have never used a DSLR camera.


So first, I would like to know you a bit better.
Could you tell me since when did you buy your first professional camera and when did you start to get interested into photography?
My first professional Camera I bought was a Pentax K10D in 2007. I used it on our Norway trip and until 2010. Even if I was never really pleased with the bad iso handling of the camera, i bought a Tamron 17-50 2.8 for it and I was charmed about the open aperture. For the first time I released that there´s more room for creativitiy, also in combination with shutterspeeds, etc. Finally I sold the cam and had 2 years absence of photography hardware  until 2012. Then I started my self-employed work and try to spend more time to approach to photography at another level.

How many cameras/lenses do you have?
At the Moment I own 5 cameras and 9 lenses. For my free work and personal projects i use a Hasselblad 500 c/m with a Planar 80mm, a Olympus OM-2 with different lenses, a Graflex 4×5 Speedgraphic and a Fuji XPro-1 as my digital Backup 🙂 For my paid jobs I use the Nikon System with a D7100 with a handful of lenses (35mm, 85mm, 24-120mm, 8-16mm) and hopefully soon the D750.

How would you rate your interest in photography? Is it a hobby, passion, a way to get extra money or your full time job?
It began with a hobby, since one year photography generates a bit more than extra money for me and my workmates and we will see what to come. But for sure it´s passion – all the time.

Could you, please, tell me the story of your behavior as a photograph? Meaning, in which circumstances do you take pictures (Planned shootings, looking for models beforehand, improvised trip looking for spots?)
I always try to be prepared as much as I can. Especially paid jobs are deserving your full concentration and a lot of planning. The result is that you’re more focused at the important things on a set like communication to the model, etc. But its a bit different I shoot street photography or on holidays. Thats a bit more reaction on things which could happen or work with your creativity. For my work with models I´ve always asked some friends, but a model not yet. I think I should force this in the future a bit.


How important is photography in your life? To what extent would you say it is part of what you are?
What are your benefits from taking pictures?
It´s very important and it affects me a lot in my life. I always try to get different views to things and see in different angles, also beside my camera, in my life. Apart from that photography helps a much to connect to different people in your life. Whether, if your shooting with models, other photographers or you talking with somebody else about a simple picture. Get in touch with all these great peoples is the biggest influence photography has on me. Beside some great pictures that is definitely the benefit photography gives to me.


How often do you change/improve your equipment?
Hard to say. I never changed some equipment, except my first camera I sold. And the medium Format „Zenza Bronica“ I changed for my Hasselblad. Beside those „changes“ I hope to hold my Nikon system with the analog addition. The only thing is sometimes I wish to try out some more lenses/cameras. Otherwise I know how this could end.

Could you explain me your decision-making process? Are you loyal to a brand? Where are you looking for information?
I´m loyal to nikon. For me there´s no reason to switch to canon etc. Maybe if the mirrorless cameras are focussing better. Beside this it´s always a money-contolled process. If I do an invest I´m looking for different reviews in forums, amazon, etc.


Are you tracking new products/technological improvements about photography?
It depends if something got my attention or I feel to complete my equipment. Especially these days I think I need a bit more wide angel and need a 28mm/1.8 🙂

According to you, to what extent is technology important in photography?
If you´re beginning with photography, you´re always thinking about getting this and this. Some people think they need all that different stuff, before they taking pictures. They are spending a lot of time online and at home to complete their equipment. If you´re leaving this process you unterstand that its not important if you´re making a picture with a 50/1,4 or a 35/2,0, it´s the picture that counts. Sure, it depends what you want to shoot. I never would shoot a wedding with a pocket camera, or business portraits without two bodies. But at the end its the creativity and the eye that counts. Not the 36 Megapixels.

Let’s say you are about to take a picture, what are the parameters you take into account?
The first aspect is what is the result I wanna archive. B/W or color? DOF or not? Exposure? Where are lights and shadows? Then I take a look at whole composition on the picture (foreground/background, is there something to build a excitement, etc..)

Do you focus more on the on-field technique (when taking the photograph) or is the main part of the work done afterwards on post-production (lightroom, photoshop…)? What kind of editing do you do on your photographs?
I always try to shoot the pictures as near as possible how I see things. When you shoot a digital wedding you can´t live without lightroom I think. It´s really hard to select 3000 Images with Photoshop. Generally I do as less post-production as necessary. Only doing thinks like straighten, correct exposure, saturation, etc. Finally I´m using a handful visco-film presets. If I shoot film I do nothing with my scans, try to concentrate as much as I can to compose the image.

Would you say that working on post-production is a way to denaturize the image (post-production filters, photomontage)?
If it´s controlled it´s okay. But what means controlled. Thats a fact everybody has to define for himself. Last week I´ve seen a Audrey Hepburn Picture which was blurred. It was horrible to realize that. My opinion is to show things like they are, but sometimes people are using another mirror like my camera and I have to accept this 🙂 An exception for me are my iPhone Pics. As a tech freak I sometimes like to try some filters etc.


What are your thoughts about the incredibly increase of uses of smartphones as cameras?
What the hell are doing these people with all this pictures they make the whole day? Sometimes it would be better to enjoy some moments instead making some pictures from breakfast. I like to make one picture „that rocks“ instead of 500 pictures of my weekend trip. I think the people are losing their view to the important and beautiful things and moments. Thats the reason why I shoot film. Not if I want to slow down. It´s because of take some time and enjoy the process. And then you automatically slow down…

What do you think about amateurs who charge a fee for some events and about the fact that professional technology is nowadays more affordable for the public? Do you think that we are going toward the de-professionalization of photography?
At the end its always the same. If you pay 200 bucks for your wedding to an amateur you can´t expect wedding images with the quality from Jose Villa or Jonas Peterson. Except it´s a buddy from you or/and he´s high talented. Today everybody thinks he could make some good pics with a crop dslr, but I think it doesn´t work. I try to find clients with the same sense of good photography and quality I try to deliver and clients who also want a professional photographer who has experience and cares about things they have not thought about. I hope that makes the difference.

This is the end.
I would like to warmly thank you for your consideration and for your time. Your answers will be really beneficial to my research. Thank you again for your contribution, I really appreciate it.
Feel free to ask me if you are interested in the final report of the study.
Michael Martinez

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