What People Do

September 06, 2014

I love to photograph people, doing whatever they do, at any time. It doesn't really matter what they're about to achieve, as long as it's not staged. Photography, at least for me, is to capture the real life. Unstaged, and not made up. Looking at people like you and me, documenting our everyday activities, in all its beauty and strangeness, is among the things that interest me most.

So I visited the IFA yesterday, and while I am a 15+ years CEBIT veteran, I have to admit I had a hard time during the first hour at the fair. Too busy, too loud, and not many of those technical inventions really drew my attention. Of course, 80" curved OLED displays are impressive, as are smart watches and app controllable refrigerators, but the plain and innocent technological enthusiasm that I obeyed as a young software engineer is gone. Long gone. I'm getting old. 

Anyway, after a while, I got used to the noisy mess and the million people around me and started taking pictures. Without any plans in mind, and with no assignment on my shoulders, I quite naturally began to look at people and their chores. While wandering around, I photographed activities, expressions, emotions and interactions of all kinds. I took about 300 pictures.

I was able to use a surprisingly simple setup. Take a look at the images and believe it or not, but I got along with only the 1.8/32 Zeiss and my Fuji X-T1 (a simple 50mm equivalent prime lens on a full frame camera), which I shot wide open at ISO 800 all day. No flash, no long lenses, no zooms, no big photo bag. Just a single body and one lens, used in manual exposure mode, sometimes focused manually.

It was a pleasing experience. I love this kind of minimalism.

After I deleted ninety percent of the pictures, there were still too many to put them all into this post. So please take a look at the "What People Do Gallery", and get an impression on What People Do at IFA. The gallery contains 31 images showing people at work, visiting the booths, doing their businesses, and interacting with each other. Some of them show people puzzled, confused, annoyed by that strange guy standing in front of them with a camera, waiting for the decisive moment, silently insisting on getting a compelling image ;-)

Take your time to look at the images. Most of them have their own little surprise, and it's worth spending a while on each of them. For best access, view the gallery by clicking on the "slideshow" button.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!