Street Photography of Kevin Pilz from germany

About me : I’m Kevin Pilz and I live in Ulm, Germany. I initially started photography in order to shoot quality photos of my daughter back in 2013. However, there is more to this than that. I want my daughter to pick up my pictures in 20 years and recall the story behind them.

Up to this point I exclusively took close-up portrait photographs of family members and friends. Most of the time, it is challenging to tell a story with those types of photographs since it is difficult to interpreted the situation and under which circumstances the photographs were taken.

Over time, I developed my own documentation style which besides portrait photography I use in street photography.

I draw my inspiration from the observation of the interaction between human and environment. Through my photographs, I try to put people at the center, and at the same time, in contrast to the urban environment.

Statement & preferences, etc. : My artist’s signature is emphasized by the gear I work with. I prefer using the 35 mm and 50 mm equiv. lenses. The 35 mm equiv. focal length provides the opportunity to get close to my subjects and at the same time leave enough background to tell a visual story. On the other hand, the 50 mm focal length allows me to maintain a certain distance to my subject. The gear I am mostly using is my XT-1 equipped with either the XF35f2 and my X100T.

However, over the time, the X100T became my go-to camera mainly because of its compact size and unobtrusiveness. After some substantial use I got comfortable with predominantly working with the 35 mm focal length.

As a street photographer I am always looking out for interesting shots, which I refer to as “essence of moment”. This is why I think that it is not possible to find a suitable scene or subject on every photo walk. You simply cannot point your camera at someone and push the shutter release button. It takes way more than that to tell a visual story. Most importantly, street photography it is all about seeing. You have to be able to capture things before they actually happen, get close to your subject without disturbing the scene and furthermore, you should only photograph others the way like you want others to take pictures of yourself. In this regards, every photographer has his own code of ethics.

One approach to my work is to just walk the street and react to a trigger scene or subject. However, that way I often end up rejecting 99% of all my images. As one can imagine this approach can be quite frustrating. To overcome such frustration and to train my vision, I started so called “vision enhancing-projects”. Therefore, I leave home with an idea in my mind, like a specific color, gesture or detail (e.g. patterned sweater) but I certainly do not know where this idea might take me. This approach has proved to be highly rewarding.

Projects : Last year, at the peak of the refuge crisis in Europe and the emerging xenophobia in Germany and other European countries, I went to the Concentration Camp Dachau, close to Munich. I wanted to see for myself were xenophobia and nationalism once ended. The aim of the project was to capture timeless impressions of that place as xenophobia occurs in every society and will always be part of mankind.

This photography project changed me. It made me even more sensitive for xenophobia and discrimination and even more for the fact, that history should never be forgotten and its worst aspects should never be repeated in any way.

My long-term project is called “My Hometown”. I live in Ulm, a small city in the south of Germany. Nevertheless, Ulm has recently been affected by the latest building boom. As a result, construction sites are almost everywhere. The local architectural changes, noisy construction sites and frequent traffic jams inspired me to document this transition as well as peoples’ everyday lives. Therefore, the focus of this project will be the interaction between humans and their urban surroundings. Furthermore, this project intends to raise the awareness that it is not a must to travel to metropolis like New York, London or Paris in order to shoot in the streets. I believe that inspiration can be found anywhere since sky is the limit of human creativity.

Influences and favorite stuff : One of my biggest influences in photography is family. I want to tell stories with my pictures and also want my daughter to have great photos of her childhood.

When it comes to other photographers, I adore Alex Webb, Robert Frank, Robert Capa and Henri Cartier Bresson.

Kevin Pilz : Website | Instagram


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