Es ist schon ein eigenartiges Gefühl, ein Interview mit sich selbst zu sehen und lediglich die eigenen Fotos wieder zu erkennen. Julius Kotus, der Redakteur des offizielles Nikon-Blogs in der Slowakei, hat mit mir erst kürzlich ein Interview in Englisch geführt, das nun aber in Slowakisch veröffentlicht wurde. Ich nehme mal an, dass es vielen so geht, wie mir selbst und sie kein Slowakisch sprechen. Daher erlaube ich mir, das Interview hier noch einmal in Englischer Sprache zur Verfügung zu stellen. Ein Blick in den Blog von Nikon Slowakei mag sich er dennoch lohnen, da Julius auch eine Auswahl von 30 (!) meiner (zum Teil unveröffentlichten) Fotos für das Interview zusammen gestellt hat: https://www.nikonblog.sk/komfort-a-lenivost-su-najvacsi-nepriatelia-fotografii-thorge-berger/#comments
Hier das Interview in Englisch:
NIKONBLOG.SK – Das Interview mit Thorge Berger in Englisch
In March this year I was writing about great travel photographer Thorge Berger and his approach to shoot travel photography with a single focal lenght 35mm lens. Thorge and I got in touch and he agreed to give me an interview for Nikonblog.sk. So there we are. 🙂
Dear Thorge, please let us know how did you discover, that photography is your life (or love)? How did you start?
When it was my 16thbirthday my father gave me his old Nikon. He was a passionate traveller and photographer himself. So I started with photography at that time. In the beginning I fell In love with black & white photos and started to develop my own films in a youth centre where they had a dark room. But then I discovered my passion for music and I wanted to become a rock star. Actually I recorded two albums with my band. But it never got very successful. Well, at least I continued shooting during our club tours …
In 2005 I bought my first DSRL. It was a Nikon D70 and I travelled through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia with my backpack and this camera. The DSLR empowered me to instantly control my results and try other settings and/or compositions when I was not happy with them. It helped me a lot to understand my mistakes and to improve my skills and it gave me a lot of motivation to continue and to learn more at the same time.
Is photography the only thing you do for living?
No only part time. I also work as a self-employed trainer and coach in the field of personal and organizational development. But it is continuously growing and I have the feeling the balance of both areas is shifting …
How many countries have you visited and what was the best destination to photograph and to stay in?
Since today I have travelled five continents and more than fifty countries. Many of them I visited several times. But there is an app on my phone (“Been”) which tells me I have only seen 22% of the world. So I still have a long wish list …
What about your temptation to travel just with one lens? 🙂
This is a relatively new development for me. And honestly I am still not entirely there yet to leave all my other lenses at home. Since I wrote the article for Nikonrumors.com and PetaPixel.com I travelled in Iran and there it turned out that my favourite lens was a 16-35mm f/4. So I have the feeling there might be something like ‘the one right lens for each trip’.
How do you communicate in countries where you can not speak English or German? Do you hire a local guide?
Yes I work a lot with guides, dedicated photo guides and fixers. This is very effective and helps me to actually get the photos I am looking for. Never the less I always make the effort to learn at least some phrases in the language of each country where I travel. So I can establish a minimum of a personal contact with the people I meet. And usually they feel it as an appreciation.
I have found, that you are also teaching workshops and leading photography expeditions. How does it work? Are many people interested in traveling with a photography guide?
That’s right. It is a bit like the ‘intersection’ of my business and my passion. I enjoy sharing my passion, my experiences and my enthusiasm and to help people to grow and to develop their own skills. This is of course possible in a workshop but it is even more effective when you can spend more time with people abroad and they can instantly make their own experiences and actually see their own development by the end of the trip! The photo trips I organize where not just good for the participants to develop their skills. They also get home with great shots from the trip and we have a lot of fun together. Currently I am preparing two new photo expeditions: in January 2018 we will travel and shoot for 10 days in Kerala, south India. This is particularly interesting due to the ‘Theyyam’ festivals which only happen there in this period of time. The other one will be a trip in Myanmar which I do in cooperation with a fantastic Burmese photographer. Besides the usual ‘must-see’s’ on this tri we will also travel to a specific ethnic tribe where the woman traditionally tattoo their entire faces! So I am very much looking forward to these trips!
You yourself have been a participant in a Steve McCurry expedition in India. What does it mean to you? How has this has changed your approach to photography? What was the greatest benefit from this experience?
The trip with Steve certainly was a milestone in my own development as a photographer. Learning from Steve was not easy. The most I learned when I was just observing him. I also had a portfolio review with him in the beginning of the trip which at first I found pretty disappointing. But with some distance I had to say that the few things he said really triggered a lot for me.
Do you still have some influencers or photographers you appreciate or adore?
Oh yes. Besides all current discussion Steve McCurry is still a genius in my eyes. But I also admire the work of many other photographers. Sebastiao Salgado, Art Wolfe, Timothy Allen to name a few …
What does good travel photography mean to you?
When I go on a photography trip I feel very ‘alive’. I am excited and happy. It is such a privilege to be able to follow your passion. When being on the road I usually have what feels like endless energy and even after many shooting days in row with little sleep – which can be pretty exhausting – I am still grateful that I can do this.
Have you ever been thinking about different photography genres, say act or fashion photography?
What I love about travel photography is the variety it offers: you can do reportages, people/portraits, architecture, street, landscape, wildlife etc. The possibilities are almost endless. I also love to see good photography from other genres such as the ones you mentioned and admire them. But I think it’s also good to keep at least a bit of focus on your passion/strength and rather develop this area then getting lost in doing everything.
Why do you travel with Nikon? What suits you in this system? What would you like to see from Nikon for travel photographers?
Like I already mentioned my father was shooting with Nikon and my first SLR was a Nikon. No doubt the quality always was and is top of the line. What I particularly love of my Nikon equipment is the feel (the haptics). And when I travel it sometimes gets pretty rough. So I love that I can rely on the durability and quality of the Nikon pro equipment.
So I have to say that I am still very happy with my Nikon equipment. The only thing is that it is also relatively heavy and bulky. Therefor I was very excited when Nikon came up with the Nikon 1 series because it seemed very handy and light weight. But what does it help when the sensor just isn’t good enough? I think the image quality isn’t good enough because the sensor is too small. So I think it would be nice if Nikon would develop a small and handy full frame or at least APS-C sensor camera for travel photography.
What is your favourite travel set up?
I usually travel with two bodies: Nikon D4s and Nikon D500. My ‘standard lenses’ would be the 24-70mm on the D4s and the 70-200mm on the D500. Then I also pack further (prime) lenses depending on the trip and what I expect to shoot. Also the 16-35mm f/4 became one of my favourite lenses when I expect to shoot a lot architecture.
Could you give some of your advices for our readers how to travel / how to get the most of your photography trips?
Well this could potentially fill a whole book (and I am currently writing one – which will be published next year ;-).
But for now I’d recommend three things:
- plan in advance – but be flexible when you’re there
- get up early to shoot in best light – and get out again for the afternoon light and stay for the blue hour
- stay hungry – don’t become modest (comfort and laziness are good travel photos worst enemies!)
Thank you very much for your time and wish you all the best for your next expeditions and of course good light!
My pleasure. Thanks a lot and thanks for having me.
An dieser Stelle noch einmal ganz herzlichen Dank an Julius Kotus für sein Interesse und das Interview! 🙂