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Inspiration

Life With Leica: An Inspirational Short Film About a Pro Photographer’s Philosophy

By Justin Heyes on October 10th 2014

Once in a while, a video comes out that reminds me why I fell in love with photography. Life With Leica is mini-documentary by Northpass Media that follows Thorsten von Overgaard, a Denmark based photographer, for a seven-day journey though the streets of Rome. In it, Overgaard share his philosophy of what it means to be a photographer.

[REWIND:The Gap: An Inspirational Video For Anyone In Doubt]

In his philosophy, Overgaard explains that it isn’t about the technical aspect, but the inspiration that drives you. Keeping it simple makes it easier to find inspiration around you. How can you observe and experience life when you are buried in menus and settings? For Overgaard, his Leica brings that simplicity; for others, it might be Fuji’s X-Series or Olympus OM-D line that take the controls out of the software and puts them at your finger tips.

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The video is perfect example of how inspiration and photography correlate. Of course, it probably has something to do with the production value behind the scenes. Northpass Media’s team showed up in Italy with a RED Scarlet and RED Epic cameras along with a set of daylight balanced ARRIs to capture the footage.

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It seems new cameras are being announced every week and they all have the latest bells and whistles. We as a community get rushed up in the excitement and feel like we need the latest gear, but do we really need it? A camera is a tool that helps us show our vision; the newest gear will not help you to be a better photographer.  Whatever your choice in camera, remember it’s not the camera that takes the picture, it is you.

For a behind the scenes look at the making of Life With Leica, check out Thorsten von Overgaard’s blog post.

[Via DIY Photography / Images screen captures]

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About

Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rakesh Ravindran

    Simplicity is good, but being simple is relative. For someone dslr might be much simpler than using a Leica. I don’t think technology has made anything complex. If anything, it has made things simple in photography. When I read about Clyde Bucher (remarkable work btw) and the sort of people using the simplest camera ( much simpler than Leica) but going through perhaps the most complex post processing to create that final piece, I think most of everything we have now is simple.

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  2. Diane Colquhoun

    Such a beautiful film! I think photography has become to much about mega pixels and manual that we forget to just look through the viewfinder and just shoot.

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  3. Mokhtar C

    The video is wonderfully shot, good angles and scenes.

    Thorsten’s website has been a very good source of info about Leica gear, i wouldn’t say i learned from him about photography, but i can confidently say that his website is the best source for Leica info “correct me if i am wrong”. So props to him for doing that.

    But i personally didn’t like the style and the way he represented himself in that video. It reminded me of those times where you really like a song, until you see the video clip and the band that sings it. then you suddenly feel confused. and thats exactly how i felt.

    I like how passionate he is about photography using Leica gear, because it makes me want to go out there with my Leica gear as well and shoot. But once he started getting all philosophical he lost me. I felt like he was trying too hard to stand out as an individual.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I met Thorsten for lunch when he was doing a workshop in Austin a few months back, in this video he doesn’t seem to be trying to hard, he’s simply being Thorsten. He’s a very intelligent and thoughtful guy. He doesn’t talk incessantly and when he does talk you generally should listen to what he’s saying.

      I wasn’t sure what he was going to be like in person only having communicated with him over emails for a few years, but it was a very nice guy. He didn’t mind me stopping in and chatting over lunch considering I wasn’t part of his workshop. I was even invited to tag along by Joy, but I politely declined, after all it’s his gig and I didn’t want to take away attention from his paying customers.

      In any case, being philosophical is a big part of photography. If you’re not thinking about the photograph you’re making what exactly are you doing? Taking a snapshot.

      I think if you spent some time with Thorsten you’d “get” his persona in the video. And remember, he’s not an actor, he was probably nervous as hell. You can see it come out in the self-deprecating laughter at the end.

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  4. Jim Johnson

    If you go to his website, everything seems to be about Leica, not just sponsored or branded with Leica like other brands’ ambassadors, but actually about Leica. What’s with that? I have no problem with someone who is a pro photographer pitching gear as long as they are actually shooting pro jobs for clients (Joe McNally or Jay P Morgan, for instance), but when all their pro output seems to be FOR that gear manufacturer… that’s not an endorsement by a professional, that’s being a paid spokesman.

    Leica’s recent marketing seems… I don’t know… kind of creepy to me. It really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Thorsten isn’t endorsed by Leica nor is he a paid spokesperson. He’s just a guy that’s passionate about Leica cameras.

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  5. Clare Havill

    Beautifully shot video, Thorsten is a though provoking person.

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  6. Greg Silver

    Very inspirational. Sometimes I think we make photography more complicated than it really needs to be.

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