Street Chat with Elisabeth Schuh

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, where do you live now? Your background with photography, how and when you were drawn to the street genre.

I am from Salzburg, Austria and now live in Vienna, the capitol of Austria. I’ve been concerned with photography for more than 20 years. First, I did portraits and photographs while travelling. With street photography, it’s been about 10 years.

How do you define “street photography” for yourself?

Street photographs are pictures, which are taken outside in the public with the surrounding that is available. The photographer just chooses his/her position and presses the button, to capture a situation, but takes no influence on the setting. By the way, street is not limited to cities, you can also take street photographs on the countryside. It’s all about light, mood and the right moment. For one example, look at the work of Kate Kirkwood

Does your local situation affect your work?

As I live in a big city, there are many interesting locations and events, which is fine for street photographers. Furthermore, Vienna is crowded by tourists with cameras all year round, so a street photographer does not attract attention. I am not an intrusive person, and keep my distance. All of this taken together, here it is mostly easy to take street photographs for me.

In what ways do you think being a woman has affected your work?

I’ve often thought about this, but have come to no conclusion yet.

Color or black and white, digital or film?

Mostly color and digital.

What photographers can you name who are the most inspirational to you?

There have been so many over the years. For example, I really like the work of Joel Meyerowitz, Ernst Haas, Saul Leiter and Jens Olof Lasthein. At the beginning of my street photography, I discovered the in-public collective, whose members still continue to inspire me over the years. I noticed especially the pictures of one of the female in-public members, Narelle Autio, her work is another good example of how to shoot street outside the city. I was also fascinated by the story of Vivian Maier, whose huge body of work was explored posthumously.

I think, street photography can also be highly influenced by painters: Go to the museums and look at the work of Edward Hopper, Georges Seurat, Pieter Bruegel, Edgar Degas…. You will learn so much about light and composition!

Is there a special project you are working on? Or recurring themes you are often drawn to?

No. Just walking and looking forward of what will come around the corner…

Elisabeth Schuh | Tumblr |

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