Interview | German Street Photographer Andreas Ott

Q: Andreas can you tell us a little about you?

My name is Andreas Ott, I am a 35 year old street Photographer from Bonn near Cologne in Germany. I work full-time in IT and practice street photography alongside as a hobby. Besides photography, I like traveling, music festivals and concerts and a good cup of fresh brewed coffee.

Q: When and why did you start shooting street work?

I started shooting in the streets in 2013. Prior to that, I shot landscapes for quite a while. But over time I realized that those images never really touched me and that I spend more time in front of the computer editing than actually capturing images. So I was looking for a kind of photography with more "soul", that I could do everywhere and don't need a lot of editing. Then I discovered street photography and was immediately thrilled by the expressions and feelings that can be exposed by this genre. Since then, I try to go out on the streets whenever possible.

Q: Nowadays, what drives you to pick up your camera, go out and shoot?

The great thing about street photography is, that it is practicable everywhere. You don't have to travel the world to take your photos. Street photography starts right in front of your door. Real life happens there and is different every single day, even at the same location. That is what keeps me motivated to explore what is around.

Q: What do you look for when you photograph?

I look for those special situations on the streets, those particular moments everybody knows they exist but that just go unnoticed in our daily rush through the day. If I go out on the streets to shoot I look for clean and structured scenery as I highly emphasise geometry as well as shapes and silhouettes. Hence I shoot mainly in black and white, because it reduces the distraction in the image and makes it easier for the viewer to focus on the actual scene or subject.

Q: You mentioned to me being influence by Thomas Leuthard. What's is
it about his photography that inspires you?

He was one the first street photographers I came across when I started street photography two years ago. Thomas sees the extraordinary in the ordinary street life and has a excellent
eye for composition and perspectives. But what I like even more is his attitude of sharing his work and knowledge. He has got a very healthy approach to street photography and is
always aware of the legal issue, but doesn't care too much about this and just follows his passion.

Q: Who else do you admire the work of and why?

I really like British documentary photographer Martin Parr. His beach photos are just outstanding. I caught myself laughing out loud just by looking at his photos. They are almost surreal and it is sometime hard to believe how people present themselves at such a crowded place like a beach. Amongst others, I also like Chinese self taught street photographer Tao Liu as he captures really unexpected funny moments.

Q: Can you imagine a life without photography? What would it look like?

Wow, that's a tough one. Let me answer this one not too serious. No, because it would be a life with much less fresh air!

Q: What's the plan for 2015-2016 for you?

Balancing family life, job and photography. Shooting images that stands out and that maybe motivates and helps others to start street photography as well. Advertise and expand our
own photographers collective about street photography in Cologne (English version coming soon)

Q: Finally, what do you think is the most important piece of advice
you can give a budding street photographer?

In order to find your own style, I would suggest to avoid photo books or street photography tutorials in the first place. You can still read those books later. If you are new to street photography or maybe new to photography at all, you will have the unique chance to start with a fresh mind and without any influences. Train your eyes whenever you do not have a camera with you. Look at locations and scenes and think about how they could be suitable for your street photo and try to composite the image in your mind. Go out to shoot with people that share the same passion, learn from each other's photos and after all, just have fun!


Thanks Andreas!

Visit Andreas Ott's website for more of his work and share some love by following him on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr!

All photos © Andreas Ott