Let me introduce to you my friend Simon. Simon uses a picture thing to put the images of the world into it and then he puts some of them on the internet. Simon is a photographer.
I’ve known him for almost 15 years now. I’ve seen him with more haircuts then he’d like to admit. We hit places together. We spent so many amazing nights together. Not what you think. Not even close, he has standards.
I enjoy doing photography myself, but I wouldn’t be where I was without Simon. He dragged me along the way, left me lying where I felt comfortable and went on to where he is now. He is too humble to admit it, but his pictures are actually quite okay.
(All photos copyrighted by Simon Becker and used with kind permission.)
While I stayed in Berlin to become a scientist like creature, he started travelling the world. France, Switzerland and the UK were already early ticked on his personal to do list, he added Turkey, Japan, Spain, an undisclosed location and several others soon after. Wherever he went, he brought his trusty cameras.
I remember one of his first cameras. A point and shoot compact digital camera, somewhere in the years 2003 to 2005. Although he just made his experiences in photography his work — if it’s not too bold to call it like this already — was significantly different from others in his age. Like me.
Simon was one of the first I knew to get a DSLR. A Canon 20D, vastly expensive and financed by the combined powers of him, his parents, grandparents and the dark lord Cthullhu. When he brought it for the first time to one of our parties, a girl asked him “Is there even a film inside?” Simon just flicked the battery compartment open, took out the battery and said “Yes, of course.” She nodded impressed.
At one point digital cameras became hugely popular. Not only the small point and shoots, but also DSLR. Around that time Simon discovered film, and again had a huge influence on me. The difference in substance between us was already quite impressive, but this didn’t stop us from going on photo tours together. Him shooting on film caught my attention and so I researched how to process films at home, only to show Simon how to do it, once I got my first few rolls developed. Since then he was self-sustaining.
If Simon was working as simple as an engine he would probably run on whiskey and Kodak Tri-X. Being a bit more than that, he requires a bit more ingredients, but when times are tough, he runs on this minimal fuel.
The quality of his photos is of course mainly due to his camera(s), a Leica M4 and a M2 amongst others, just as better pots cook better food (hint hint). Simon mastered the art of casually bringing his camera up to his face, focussing and taking a picture without the subject even realizing the full extent of his action. He and his camera don’t appear any more as two separated entities, they fused together. He takes great care in not invading people’s privacy while entering a relationship that is as intimate as it is short. For a fraction of a second he and his subject share a common cause, taking a picture and being one.
I choose my trips based on very simple factors. No heat, few tourists, no risk to be robbed or shot by the police. If Simon has any factors influencing his travels I yet have to find them. In 2013 he spent a semester abroad in Istanbul, a rather safe terrain as you might say. But while he fought their messed up university system, the Gezi Park Riots happened. Other German visitors quickly packed and returned to their pork loving home, he joined the protests, often in the first line to document the atrocious behaviour of Turkish security forces, tear gassing whole districts, shooting women, men, children in the head with gas canisters, and beating up civilians. I often lost contact to him during that time and happily welcomed every sign of his well being. Luckily he was not severely injured, apart from the permanent tear gas attacks. I won’t deny that I feared for his life more than once, whenever I saw news broadcasts on Turkish forces going postal on protesters.
In Istanbul Simon could use his experiences he made a year before. In a deliberately undisclosed country he visited a nation where everyone above the age of infants witnessed a war. Taking a different turn than expected he documented life there, that looks so different from ours. Just imagine a country where fights between adolescent men often involve big knifes and guns.
He soon returned, older and evolved. But also broke. On his way into professional world of photography he took part in a feature of young photographers during the Berlinale 2014 where he didn’t
But why am I telling you all this? Simply because today is the launch day of his first and new website. Visit him under www.simonbephotography.com and browse through his work. I did my humble share to make this happen but I won’t take credit away from him, together with Doro he spend much time on getting it where it is today.
Go there now, give him some love!