Note: Every Wednesday, I feature street photographers with great skill and soul. For this week, I decided to feature amazing street photographer Jurgen Burgin. I first stumbled upon Jurgen’s work when he left a comment on my blog, which made me check out his Facebook page. I was mesmerized by his great eye, and wanted to share his phenomenal work with the rest of you and the community. Check out his interview and leave a comment to show him some love below!

1. How did you get started in street photography?

Berlin Lovers - Jürgen Bürgin
"Berlin Lovers" - Jürgen Bürgin

It’s not too long ago, less than two years that I bought my first SLR. I started taking photos of birds, landscapes and so on, but living in a big city like Berlin, I soon started to shoot architecture – and finally people. To get some inspiration I went to my public library and read literally hundreds of photo books, of all kinds of photographers. That’s when I discovered the classic street photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassai and so on. So those hundreds of photo books tought me everything I know about taking a good photo. And there was a lot of try and error, sure an advantage of digital photography: You can shoot hundreds of photos and try to find out how the aesthetics of photography works.

2. How do you shoot in the streets?

"The End" - Jürgen Bürgin
"The End" - Jürgen Bürgin

I think much of my photography is about the relation of people to their environment. It’s for example about solitude in a big city. So one of my favourites is to shoot lonesome people amidst depressing architecture. You have to find architecture first – and wait for the right people to come. But I think the most effective way to produce some artwork is – emotion. And that’s often still a secret for me how capturing emotion works. I’m sure often it has something to do with gestures, mimic, views. It’s all kind of different ways I’m taking my photos then: Often it’s a candid way, or I love taking photos at tourist’s places in Berlin, but not photographing the sightseeing places but the tourists themselves. Sometimes I ask people too, if I can take photos of them, but this is a hard thing, as most people have a photo face then which persists of an artificial smile.

Another thing that goes beyond emotion is storytelling. My exercise is: Tell a story with one photo. Bring some elements together, so that they evoke a story. That brings us to one of my key points in art: The role of the recipient, the viewer. The viewer is an active part in arts. He brings his experiences, his background, his emotions into the reception, into the interpretation of an artwork. So it’s my duty as an artist, to keep the artwork open to interpretation, open to a subjective, POV interpretation. The next thing that is important to me is love – love to the characters of my photography. I don’t like photos that expose or unmask people, be it for their ugliness or their stupidity or so. It’s like a good novelist does: Love your protagonists.

3. What do you love most about street photography?

"The Photographer and the Girl" - Jürgen Bürgin
"The Photographer and the Girl" - Jürgen Bürgin

As I started taking street photos, I began to take a new view to the world. Nothing is like it was before. I learned to become a much better observer, observing environments, observing people, observing their behaviour, their emotions, their actions. I started being much more interested in people on the street than before. So I love finding situations, find and tell some of the thousand of “untold stories” that happen every day in our neighbourhood – and normally no one realizes them. And I love to evoke emotions and telling stories with limited possibilities.

4. What is the #1 tip you have for aspiring street photographers?

"Until It's Getting Dark" - Jürgen Bürgin
"Until It's Getting Dark" - Jürgen Bürgin

Look at as much photographic artworks you can find every day. Find an audience to get some feedback. That will help you learn a lot. Show the photos to your friends and ask them to tell what they feel, try every Social Media possibility to receive some feedback. Go to facebook, twitter, any photo community. I’m sure every photographer has to find his own way, it’s something like your own style. Your style has something to do with your biography, your emotions, your situation in life, your experiences, but also about what you are thinking about arts and the role of arts.

Links:

Check out Jurgen on Facebook and on Twitter!

At the moment he is also working on his website, which will be hopefully done by the end of the year here.

Do you know someone who may be great for the featured street photographer of a week? Leave me a recommendation in the comments below! And don’t forget to give Jurgen some love too! :)

Join the Conversation

17 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great interview, Eric!
    I also love Jürgen’s work. He just sent me a message on Twitter regarding my works last time. Indeed, I checked out his works too.
    That’s how I “met” him..

    Keep up with the nice work anyway!

  2. I liked the second picture a lot. It looks so real. Perfect use of the outer light and also how the object looks amazing in the darker form.

  3. Love the photographer and his work. Just connected on fb & twitter too. thanks for bringing this to us Eric – you are doing a marvelous job spreading street photography like Open source (you said that didnt ya)

    1. Hi Mayank,

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed the photographer! I realized that my motivation of a photographer is not to just promote my own work, but to create a community and also highlight the work of others. And yes, I am really passionate about my “open source” photography idea- and I hope that it continues to catch on :)

      Glad to have you as a part of the community,
      Eric

  4. I luv wednesday, coz i’ll find a new perspective about street photographer from other country,
    keep the best work Erick.
    dedi

  5. Great interview Eric! And thanks to Jürgen for some great tips! I just reserved 5 books at the library! It’s also great to hear that he just started a few years ago! I think with photography there is a misconception that you need years and years of education and training. But having a keen eye, sensitive nature and open mind seem to be all you need. This is extremely encouraging to people like myself who picked up photography later in life.

    Keep it up!!

    Mel

  6. Wonderful and moody images, Jürgen. And I agree that street photography is very much about observing and recording stories. Love it.

    Good luck with your website!

    Regards
    Jimmy

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