Photography of Max Slobodda from Germany

Max Slobodda is a young and dynamic street photographer from Germany. He likes to shoot the triviality and banality of everyday street situations in a very careful manner. His photostream is made up of images that have all necessary elements of street photography. Images featured here are been selected from his recent projects ‘Merge’ and ‘Dualism’, and Max tells about them and about his work and preferences in the short interview below:

Please tell me about yourself and your relationship with photography:

My Name is Max Slobodda and im a 28 year old street photographer from Dortmund, Germany. I study Photo Design at the university of applied science Dortmund and work as a freelance photographer. Most of my free time I visit bigger cities like Düsseldorf or Cologne for Street photography. More People = more chances!

Max Slobodda (1)Do you believe having an education (like a degree) in photography helps and individual?

It can have both pros and cons. Though I don’t believe that education is necessary for a successful career but it can develop your skills faster because of the exchange between the students and the teachers. You are all the time surrounded by so many different people with their projects, interests and visions.

Education in photography opens your mind for different photography genres. This helped me a lot to understand what I expect from photography and what I can give it back. It’s a nonstop process and to study or to have a education can help you to focus on what you really want. At least this is how it worked for me. Of course all the different influences can be confusing, so maybe for someone else the ‘self-taught’ way would be the better choice.

Max Slobodda (2)How would you define or categorize your body of work (or current body of work)? How did you get into street photography and what elements or characteristics of street do you like shooting most?

It was the work of Matt Stuart who opened my eyes for the new street photography. Before I discovered his work, street photography for me was just B/W documentary of travel trips. I never could imagine that there could be more to it. His unique style has a big influence on how I watch the things that happen on the streets and I believe it even changed the way how I move in a big crowd of people during a rush hour. I always thought its interesting that photography gives us the possibility to recreate a new reality in a way how we want to see it.

Max Slobodda (3)Like I do it in my series ‘Merge’. I use different layers to create two dimensional objects or I use the opportunity to obscure people faces to give them an anonymity. I began to see the streets as some kind of photographic playground. I’ve started to explore the streets for situations and moments when a subject/object becomes one with his/her environment.

Tell me about your planning, preferences and approaches/methods into shooting on and off streets:

I wait for sunny days and then I’m going to visit bigger cities where I can feel and behave like a tourist. If I’m on a street shooter trip, what I do is being patient and attentive. Both goodnesses are very well known from the street photography. I don’t try to force new pictures because if I do that I’m never happy with the results. It can be that I have days, even weeks, when I don’t get one single good picture! It can be very frustrating but every time I get upset about not getting a good picture, suddenly I become paid for my patience and I remember why I love street photography.

Max Slobodda (4)Tell me about your current projects (Merge & Dualism). How did these projects take shape and progress?

Both series are ongoing projects. I don’t know if I’ll  ever finish them but I think I’m going to make a book with one of them one day. The series emerged just by time and a growing photo pool. I began to search for similarities between my pictures to create these series. This is how these two projects were born.

I’ve talked above already about the creating process of ‘Merge’.  About ‘Dualism’, after I had once looked through my photo pool , I found out that I have a couple pictures with doublings and similar elements. So I started to combine these pictures because for me it’s interesting as two similar elements in an image can balance the photo or can have a nice interplay between colors and shapes.

Max Slobodda (5)What photography equipment (camera, lenses, software) do you use and why?

I have a Fuji X-T1 with a 18mm and a Ricoh GR. 90% of the time I use the Ricoh. People don’t notice if I’m photographing them and if they do, they believe I’m just a tourist with that small camera. It’s good because with bigger camera I’ve made a couple bad experiences here in Germany. The laws here are very strict so in my opinion the Ricoh is one of the best camera with high quality if you don’t want to be recognized on the streets.

Do you have a favorite photo or a significant memory related to photography?

I don’t really have that one favorite photo. There are way too many good ones out there!

Max Slobodda (6)What do you think about contemporary photography?

I think the Street photography Now Community and with their book brought the game to the next level. If you look at all these ‘new’ street photography on Flickr and Facebook groups, you can see how far the Street Photography is today and how fast it is developing. People connect and inspire each other, which is an awesome thing.

What are your future plans/projects, ambitions, aspirations etc.?

One of my aspirations for the future is to join a great Street Photographer Collective and to have one day the possibility to exhibit my work.

Max Slobodda (7)Please share your influences and/or favorite stuff (within and outside of photography): photographers,quotes, films, books, music etc.:

I will write them down in keywords:

Matt Stuart, Pau Buscato, Tavepong Pratoomwong, Siegfried Hansen, Streetphotography Now Book, Flickr Groups like: HCSP; Street Fight; Street&Repeat, the Documentary Everybody Street. SP Collectives like iN-Public, Observe, APF, Un-Posed etc.

Max Slobodda (8)Something to say to our readers or aspiring photographers:

I’d like to end this with a quote of Matt Stuart:

“Buy a good pair of comfortable shoes, have a camera around your neck at all times, keep your elbows in, be patient, optimistic and don’t forget to smile”.

Max Slobodda (9) Max Slobodda (10) Max Slobodda (11) Max Slobodda (12) Max Slobodda (13) Max Slobodda (14) Max Slobodda (15) Max Slobodda (16) Max Slobodda (17)All photos © Max Slobodda : Website | Flickr | Facebook

About Nishant Mishra

Nishant studied art history and literature at the university during 1990s. He works as a translator in New Delhi, India and likes to read about arts, photography, films, life-lessons and Zen.

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