Mentoring at FotoWik · University Panamericana Mexico City

Markus Hartel street photography, New York

Markus Hartel street photography, New York

I’m super excited to go to Mexico City for a week to teach street photography and mentor aspiring (street) photographers at the Universidad Panamericana (University) in Mexico City. To me, it’s a dream come true… I love teaching, I love street photography and I yet have to sort out the traveling part (mainly due to two cats and a new home in the Hudson Valley), but it really is thrilling to me to show my work, my world and my point of view to complete strangers and inspire them with my art.

My (this) photography web site is close to ten years in the making and I have tutored a couple of hundred aspiring photographers over the past three years, for Leica camera at first, and then I have decided to host my own one-on-one street photography workshops… I have sold prints, zines and iPad apps via the iTunes store. Turns out, that my vast experience in photography, graphic design, typography, technology, cameras and anything graphic art related rings a bell in some people’s minds, and I love meeting new people to guide them through seeing with a fresh pair of eyes…

I’m a firm believer of the apprenticeship model (I have apprenticed to be a typesetter from 1987-1990), where people learn their profession by doing, and workshops can do that on a light speed, accelerated, timeline. How much of it is possible to memorize in a short amount of time is questionable, as our brains tend to not do well with short term memory, as we learn by repetition – my students are generally more than pleased with the inspiration and the (street) photography results they are getting.

Anyways, enough of shining a light on myself… go out shooting & maybe I’ll see you in Mexico City next month!!!

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The right tool for the job

hARTel street photography

I love technology and I love film, and on top of that, I’m lazy… I’m a digital kid, and despite being (almost) 42 years old, I always embraced technology for the better or worse.

In 2001 digital technology and my personal shortcomings killed my business, but time and age also introduced me to digital photography and I learned my ropes by doing table top stuff in my print shop/studio for catalogs. Fast forward a few months and I find myself in New York City, Canon introduced their new digital SLR (10D) to consumers and I pulled the trigger on a new camera… subjects were available at my door step and I started shooting random strangers in the streets with a zoom lens from the 50mm to 90mm range (90mm being more realistic, as I didn’t have the knowledge, or brass to walk up to someone, armed with a camera).

Upon inspection of the results, I noticed that all these shots were merely portraits of strangers in a random location and that I needed to change my point of view in order to provide context to my viewers. I googled around and came across the “street photography” thing. I bought a prime lens for my digital camera and kept on shooting for a while, yet something was missing…

I need a Leica! that’s what the masters used altogether and being short on funds I settled for a Voigtlander Bessa with a russian Leica knock-off 50mm lens and I felt like HCB himself for a second. I still remember my sweaty finger prints on the negative of the person jumping a snow/slush puddle – the tones were great, but the composition was just awful…

The digital SLR was history, and the Bessa lasted for a few rolls and I ended up trading the cheapie Voigtlander for a Leica M6 TTL, which I used with the russian 50mm lens for a short period of time. short, as in it’s a shame using a $50 lens on a quality camera a paycheck away, so I went to a reputable dealer and invested in a collapsible 50mm Leica lens… really, you can tuck this thing in and put it in your coat pocket? fantastic.

I forgot to pull out the barrel numerous times and in turn, missed the shot (I know, you’d like to think its the other way around), but I ended up selling the 50mm gun for another one, the 50mm Summicron and here is where the haze begins to lighten between Summilux, Summicron, Summarit, Elmar and so on… basically, the more foreign the name, and the larger the aperture opening, the larger the hole in your wallet.

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street photography for a good cause

hartel street photography

hartel street photography

silhouette with hat walking into smoke on an avenue in manhattan (Markus Hartel street photography)

Street Photography has been enjoying an extraordinary renaissance in the last few years with a raft of dedicated publications, festivals, magazines and exhibitions.

Now practitioners from across the world have come together to offer their work in an online sale to raise money for and awareness about the work of the charity PhotoVoice.

The Street Collection includes beautiful, dramatic, comic and moving images that capture the energy and idiosyncrasy of everyday life on streets across the globe. Over 350 prints are available, at £100 each (excl. printing, post and packaging). This is a unique opportunity to buy outstanding images by leading photographers, many of which have been exhibited and published widely but never previously made available for sale.

Every penny of the sale price will go directly to supporting PhotoVoice’s work enabling marginalised communities around the world to tell their own stories and represent themselves visually. You can find out more about how buying a print will support PhotoVoice’s pioneering work.

visit the Street Collection and support a good cause by purchasing a print!

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