I had the pleasure of interviewing the curious, creative street photographer Marius Vieth. In the process, I found he is not only an exceptional street photographer but he also has a tenaciously positive attitude we hope to be contagious!
Curious & Creative
Growing up in a very rural part of Northern Germany with only about 1800 souls, Marius Vieth was raised in a sheltered, traditional village where time seemed to have stood still. As a teenager it used to annoy him but he just loved it as a child since nature offered him infinite possibilities to play, explore and create. He describes himself as a very active and curious child who was always eager to learn new things and get creative, “as much as I loved playing with my friends, I was just as happy to spend time on my own.”
It started with Commitment
Before he started his 365 project he took photographs of everything around him but couldn’t really feel his photos. It felt as if his photos only seemed to scratch the surface of what he actually wanted to express and he found that to unleash your creative soul you have to keep digging.
“When you are ‘forced’ to capture something every day you will eventually get closer to capturing yourself.” During his 365 project he kept on digging every day and after a while he figured out how he wanted to express himself. He discovered that he loves capturing strangers or as he likes to put it, “the stranger in me” and felt as if his creative chains were unleashed and couldn’t stop following this path ever since.
All you need is your Eyes, Heart and Soul
Not a fan of tons of gear, Marius Vieth currently uses a Fujifilm X-T1 with a XF18mm f2 R lens for his classic street photography signature and for his broken signature he uses a Canon 5D Mk II with a broken Canon 24mm f1.4 lens.
He believes that in order to find out which lens will suit you best, simply use what you’ve got, taking lots of street photos and see if the lens helps you express yourself or not. Originally, Marius started off with a 50mm but after a while realised that he loved the surroundings of the subject just as much as the subject itself so he swapped his 50mm for a 35mm. In order to have even bigger sceneries, he decided to buy a 24mm lens.
Continuing to say that it’s okay to try out all sorts of lenses and cameras but to never forget that “your most important gear is your eye, heart and soul!”
Capture the Magic
Street photography can be classified as photographing authentic, unprompted moments and Marius says that anticipating a special moment is one of the secrets to successful street photography. Spending more time analysing the world around you than actually shooting, will improve your shots quickly. The more you learn about certain behavioral patterns you see on street, the easier you can predict special moments. “It’s all a matter of milliseconds, but it doesn’t hurt if you have a few more (seconds) to compose and capture the moment.”
Post-Processing Street Photos
Marius believes that post-processing is essential to his photography and that is the method in which you refine what you’ve already created. In order to make editing easier he always shoots in RAW and then uses Lightroom 5 to develop his photographs into the vision he has in his mind. When we asked him about his post formula he said that it’s hard to describe since he edit’s his shots like “a crazy scientist in a lab”.
Generally it will go as follow:
- Deciding to go with either black and white or colour.
- Then he’ll adjust contrast, tones and clarity.
Something he always does, is create multiple versions of a single photograph, then he will wait a day or two and pick the one he likes the best. He believes that post-processing is a very powerful aspect of the photography process that can completely change the vibe of a shot and that’s why he’s just as passionate about the post-processing as he is about capturing the photograph.
Ever hopeful, Marius says it’s hard to tell from where he got his optimism, “Since DNA, upbringing and your own experiences all create the basis for your way of thinking.” His dad always kept a positive attitude and he thinks it most probably laid the foundation of the way he thinks.
Having suffered from depression and being a photographer, he did the most logical thing he could and took a photograph, depicting what depression felt like for him. It is interesting to see how the most positive people, the ones you’d least expect it from, so easily fall into the ever-tightening grips of depression. He knows how horrible it feels and “that you would rather cover it with a smile than let someone look deep into the abyss.” Personally, he has come to terms that his depression is something that will come back every now and then (even though he’d rather not experience it again). He deals with it by not beating himself up, observing his thoughts, exercises, meditates and takes the journey out of the “black hole” one day at a time. “To all people suffering from depression who are reading this right now, I know what you are going through. No matter how hopeless and crippling it may be at times, never forget what Albert Camus said: ‘In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer’.”
A series called ‘Broken’
He has a series of photographs called ‘Broken’ and we were curious to learn how it came about. He says it all started when he smashed is brand new $1,600 lens after taking it out of his backpack. “It was a moment of terror to say the least.” Although there were no scratches the focus was completely broken. He took a few test shots and saw all the photos were blurry, so after the initial shock wore off he quickly grew to love the ‘trippy’ look of the images.
Since he always tries to look on the bright side of things he saw this as an opportunity to grow. That’s how he came up with the idea to capture “broken” characters in the red light district of Amsterdam with his broken lens, turning a disaster into something beautiful. He turned out loving the philosophy behind it so much that he created yet another “Broken” set in Bangkok.
A Bright Future lays ahead
Although he has many exciting things planned for the future, the next big thing will be Issue 3 of his very own fine art photography magazine called Neoprime Contemporary Fine Art Photography. It holds the world’s most incredible photographs in a gorgeous coffee table magazine. Every issue is numbered and limited, which turns it into a wonderful collector’s item. “It’s such an exciting project and I can’t wait to take it to the next level. We’ve sold Issue 1 and 2 across all the corners of the globe ranging from the Philippines, Australia, China, Jordan, Russia, Germany and the USA to name but a few.” Since his sister stayed in South Africa for 6 weeks and absolutely loved it he can’t wait to visit us here in sunny South Africa, which he’s sure to do sometime down the road. “I can’t wait to explore it for myself, capturing some golden moments on the streets of Johannesburg and Cape Town.”
The Beauty of Life
We asked him about what else in life makes him tick. He answered that he couldn’t live without music and that he rarely takes photos without his very own sound track playing in the background. Besides music he loves travelling, great shows, movies, documentaries and getting to know people from across the globe. Most importantly having a good laugh about the absurdity of life.
His street photographs are fresh and full of life, showing us how everyday life is full of precious moments. After this interview I can only sum up Marius Vieth as a kind man with a creative eye, a beautiful soul, and heart full of hope. If you would like to see more of what Marius is up to, feel free to take a look on his social media platforms: