Featured photographer, Simon Becker
I was recently very fortunate to be able to spend a fair bit of time with Simon Becker during his visit to Japan. Simon is a very talented photographer and a really nice guy to go with it. Oh and he is a handsome, tall, multi-instrumentalist…Grrrr. Oh well, some people have it all. Seriously though, Simon is a great photographer and I have had the chance to talk with him about his work. Come and have a look.

Some details about Simon:
– Simon Becker
– *04.07.1988 in Berlin, Germany
– photography since ~2006
– German Abitur and french Baccalauréat 2007 in Berlin
– “Kulturwissenschaft” and Art History at Humboldt University Berlin since 2010
– M2 and M4 with 35mm lenses and mostly Tri-X or 400 (the M2 is gorgeous)

First of all, welcome to JCH, please tell us about yourself.
My name is Simon, I am 24 years old. I am a photographer and about to get my Bachelor of Arts in Culture Studies / Culture Theory and Art History. I am also a musician, but with my photography having become more than just a spare time activity, there is not too much time for that these days. I travel a lot, no matter if my schedule or bank account do agree or not.

You are a student right now, can you tell us what you study? Do you think it has an influence on your photography?
I actually started studying “Kulturwissenschaft” (there is no accurate equivalent in english) “for” (and instead of) photography. I wanted to approach the things, symbols, aesthetics, perceptions, structures etc. I deal with in my photography from a more scientific / philosophical / sociological and complex perspective and not from a photographer’s point of view. This has worked out even better than I thought so far and it certainly had and has a significant influence on my photography and my own photographic “épistème”, even though it is hard to give you a simple and concrete example.
I really like “post-structuralist” french philosophy and culture theory and telling people (no matter what topic): “No, it’s not that simple! But I probably do not understand more about it than you do.”

Having travelled around quite a bit do you have a place that really stand out for shooting?
That is a difficult question. I think any place holds the potential for interesting photography, it depends more on the contingency of the many little things that happen around you and on who you are and where you stand, how you place yourself within that constantly changing constellation and in relation the people and things around you.
That being said some cities / countries certainly make it easier than others to take photos. I found Japan to be a very relaxed place for taking photos in public, or even in private, so was Vancouver. But maybe the tension or “photographic paranoia” you have to deal with in a lot of places can also spark up a certain kind of energy that makes you take photos you would not otherwise. One simple example for this is the fact that for me, there was very little adrenaline involved in taking photos of strangers in Japan, no matter how close I was or how intimate or delicate the situation. Adrenaline is a “drug”, and we all know that sometimes, drugs make us better photographers.
As for my travelling in general, I am very much looking forward to moving to Istanbul for six months next year.

I have been out shooting with you and noticed your actions were quite spontaneous, quite prolific. What do you look for when shooting?
One could maybe say that I often look for constellations of all sorts of elements, I like to reduce complexities to simpler pictures – or find complexity in very simple scenes. One could also say that I am slowly learning to allow a more intimate, emotional and less cold limb to grow on my body of work. But most of the time I just point my camera at something that I feel looks like a photo and press a button.
And I think I was drunk most of the time we spent together. I was probably looking for girls.

How would you describe your style of photography?
I wouldn’t.
I prefer to produce more work instead, take the photos that I want to take and try to be as “good” as I can – and if some people can then recognise my work by certain indicators, that is fine.

How did you get started in photography? Was there a particular moment of inspiration?
The first time I was in Scotland made me want to seriously take pictures, and I have ever since. Even though I produced a lot of bullshit and it took me quite a while to find ‘my’ photography.

Do you have a method to your shooting, or do you prefer to be more organic?
Organic sounds good and healthy.

Are there any photographers that inspire you or influence your work?
There are too many. But I try not to burn images in my mind. I have no pictures on my walls. Winogrand has said interesting things, so has Cohen. And there many great shots all over flickr these days.

Where would you like to see your photography develop in the future?

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with the readers of JCH?
When they are done.

Simon also shot a lot in Japan while he was here, there are so many good shots that I just don’t have the space to feature them all, but here are a few of my personal favourites:

I really urge you to go and check out Simon’s sites and check out his work, you will not be disappointed:
www.simonsawstreet.blogspot.com/ (blocked in china, haha :D )

Thanks for being on the site and sharing your work with us Simon. I love your style and your work. It was great to spend time with you and I really hope we can meet up in Europe next year to go shooting again.

Please remember that the images are reproduced with the kind permission of Simon Becker and may not be used or reproduced without permission.