© Kristina Maier

A Conversation with Kristina Meier

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When and how and why did you start with street photography?

I started to photograph in my teens but never was really satisfied with the results. I tried it with landscape and macro. I used my camera sometimes more, sometimes less. About 2 years ago I discovered Instagram and met some people online. One and a half years ago I went for some photowalks through different cities in Switzerland and finally felt comfortable with street photography.

I liked it a lot to try what fits me, what I like the most and the themes you mentioned are exactly that. I’m very critical with myself and as you said, the list of pics isn’t complete with this +/- 500 pics on Instagram. I only share the ones I’m sure I want to share because I just like them.

What are you looking for in your subjects ? Or what draws you to press the shutter button ?

I love to play with light and shadow, and I’m looking for lines, geometry and stairs the most.

I don’t know exactly why this fascinates me that much but you can find these things in most of my pictures.

Most of it is spontaneous. Because I noticed when I go out on the streets looking for something special i can’t find what i had in my mind and am frustrated. So I just walk and look for some scenes that catches my attention and press the shutter button.

What are some of your favorite images you have taken? And why they are your favorite?

It was hard to choose some of my favorite images because all of them have a special story, but here are 7 of my favorites.

Kids playing on the streets

© Kristina Meier

I made this picture 20 years ago in Cracow, Poland and i would say this is my very first real street photo. I remember this day so well and the feeling while shooting it.

Grandfather and kid

© Kristina Meier

This shot is from Luino, Italy and i observed the scenery for a while and it was so lovely and heartwarming to see how the man explained something to the child. It remembered me on my own grandparents and how they seemed to know everything.

Lost place

© Kristina Meier

This was my first time exploring a Lost place and it was awesome. We stayed there over 6 hours and took so many pictures. On the pic is a friend of mine and I really like the dark, mystical mood and the light and shadow play.

Kicking

© Kristina Meier

I always wanted to do a shot like this and on a rainy evening in the end of October me and my friend made some shots and suddenly I remembered about this idea. So we just tried it and i really like the result.

The hand

© Kristina Meier

I took this photo at work. It was the hand of my favorite resident and for me it‘s just impressive how interesting the hands from different people are. All the wrinkles could tell a story and I’m sure the resident would have told me some if she could still speak. We had a special connection and I’ll keep the memories in my heart.

Stuttgart architecture

© Kristina Meier

As you know already, I love stairs and architecture and this picture has both in it, also lines. I remember this day so well and my friend had a lot to walk up and down until i finally was satisfied with this shot! 😉

Silhouettes

© Kristina Meier

I like the dark atmosphere in this pic, hard contrast and silhouettes. I took it during the lockdown in Switzerland and I think it fits in this time.

Can you elaborate on some oft he reasons why you are pursuing black and white photography for your photography work ?

I always preferred black and white since I started but didn‘t use it from the beginning for no special reason. Since I built more self-confidence in my photography I started to use it and for me it’s just the better way to feel, present and express my work. I can express the desired mood better in black and white than in color.

I can express the desired mood better in black and white than in color.

How do you experience street photography in Switzerland? Have you shot the streets in other countries? If yes, was the experience different and if yes, how?

I made the experience that when people see me with the camera here in Switzerland, they mostly look in another direction. They rarely enjoy it or they just have this look like „why does she has a camera in her hand? she wants to take a pic of me? Why?“

In Italy and Germany I noticed that people aren’t that interested or affected when I was standing there. At the market in Italy the people had fun looking into the camera and talk a bit.

Somehow sometimes I feel like a detective or a criminal while shooting here in Switzerland.

Do you always carry a camera ? And do you have a favorite gear set up for your street photography ?

No, I don’t always carry my camera with me. I would say it’s 50/50 and mostly I use the 35mm lens for it. Sometimes also a 60mm.

You also photograph musicians once in a while and I noticed that you are also a DJ. Can you talk a little bit more about that ?

The musicians I photographed were just shots with my mobile phone while i was at their concerts. LP i like a lot, so i was at a few concerts from her and that’s why there are a few pictures from her.

Music was always in my life, I used to play the violin as a child, also guitar and e- guitar. When i started to go out as a teenager I looked up to the DJs and wanted to learn it by myself. Around 18 years ago my best friends and i got our music room near Zurich and we still have it. I had some gigs in clubs but since I’ve had my kids I don’t go out very often and the opportunities to mix in a club were gone. So I mix only in the music room with my friends and sometimes we have some private parties in it.

Do you have any advice for people just starting out in the street photography?

Just go out and try, try, try… Look which gear fits you the most, discover the different styles and in which you feel comfortable and just have fun while shooting.

And don’t be afraid to ask if you have any questions.

The pandemic has been challenging for all of us. How has it affected you and your (street) photography?

I have two kids who are in school/kindergarten and during the lockdown it was challenging with homeschooling. Fortunately I could always go to work as I work as a nurse on the weekends in an old peoples house. It’s quite hard for everybody there because of the isolation and i hope it gets better soon.

For the photography part it didn’t affected me that much cause I like to shoot even if there are no/not many people around. Sometimes it’s even better then for my lines/geometry shots 😉

What are some oft he things you would like also to see from a group like ours beyond what we are already doing via website and social media?

First of all congrats to the launch of the swissstreetcollective! I really appreciate your idea of it and think it’s great!

Maybe it can be an idea to organize some photowalks, workshops for beginners or giving some advices for exhibitions.

Thanks for the interview, Kristina!

Thanks a lot for the opportunity for this interview !! ☺ I’m very happy that you thought of me for doing this!

Kristina on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_84kristina/

Interview conducted by Daniel Sigg

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