I am a freelance photographer, born 1995 in Berlin and focusing on reportage and portrait photography. After completing my apprenticeship at Studio67 in 2019, I jumped right into the freelance market. Nothing brings me more excitement than researching and photographing for a new project.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

I don’t really have any rules for my work, besides going out on the streets as much as possible. If I would set up rules I would limit myself and I like the feeling of freedom while shooting and being open minded about everything that comes along my way.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

My only tool are the camera and being curious about the world we live in.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

I am a huge fan of photobooks and they are a big source of inspiration to my work. But at certain point I realized that only buying new books is just hindering me from creating my own work. After realizing that I went out more often and this changed the way I work and my motivation to work! Looking trough books is great, but shooting for your own is a different story!

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

Not really. I always try to avoid difficult situation by being as kind as possible and it probably helps that I look pretty young and therefore people usually don’t think of me as a threat. 

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

I am a really curious person and lately I am more and more interested in the life of other people and this is also what draws me outside of my comfort zone.

I connect with these people by asking about their life. The most fascinating stories are just hidden behind a simple “Hello, how are you, how is your day so far?“.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

Smile at strangers when taking photos on the streets. It is the easiest thing you can do and will help you to get a first connection to yet unknown people and can possibly be the starting point of a beautiful conversation.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I always have my Fuji X100s with a fixed 35mm lens in my right hand. Of course there is already the fifth generation of the X100 series on the market but somehow the newer ones don’t feel right for my work! I love how small and quiet the camera is.

Over my shoulder I have a Leica M2 with a 35mm lens and in my bag there is also a Fuji XPro 2 with a 50mm lens which I use for portraits.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Uhhh, good question! I would definitely recommend “Exiles” from Josef Koudelka to name a classic and of course William Klein’s work on New York is a banger! Currently, I am really into photobooks of Eastern Europe, like Nikos Economopoulos, “In the Balkans“, Carl de Keyzer‘s “East of Eden“ and Fabio Ponzio’s “East of Nowhere“

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

Of course a big source of inspiration are photobooks but going for a walk without music or any other distractions and just listening to my surroundings and talk to people on the streets is also great option. Humans are so fascinating that I get almost all my inspiration from them. It could be a construction worker, a hairdresser or an older lady who is walking her dog. Listening to their stories is extremely inspiring.

Maximilian Gödecke