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  • Writer's pictureCharles Cherney

141: Siegfried Hansen

Siegfried Hansen is Germany's most respected street photographer. I learned about him from an interview he did with Samuel Lintaro Hopf in Hamburg. Here is the interview:

Siegfried Hansen is a self-taught photographer. And, after watching this interview with him, I'd say he has a lot to teach all of us. After years of shooting, Hansen still hasn't found his off switch. He remains very focused on his photography.

He recounts in his early years traveling to Paris and London for a week at a time and staying in cheap hotels just so that he could take photographs all day. Practicing and improving.

Hansen believes that photography can be learned – but interest must be there. "If there is no interest, you won't get anywhere."

He says he doesn't need to slow down. "I am in the flow, I'm happy, everything is great." What a beautiful sentiment. How many of us can say that? "I prefer to be outside photographing," he says. Amen.

What about taking direction or taking a certain direction in his work? No and no. "I always go my way after all and do my stuff."

And Hansen says he doesn't really have bad days or get in ruts. "When you have been taking photos for 20 years, you just know you have to keep going and it will come."

As for artistic goals, Hansen's point of view is clear: "You can't have a goal in street photography," he says. "There is nothing to get."

What we get are Siegfried Hansen's photographs. And, if one is paying attention, an ounce of inspiration to discover one's own creativity and where it leads.


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