He is taller than most who cross his path, you rarely catch him without his hat, and when he’s on his way to work, he has a camera in his hand. Those who know him, know immediately who I am thinking of. Simon Gehr, photographer from Regensburg, says about himself, „I tell stories about the connection between people.“ I met him to have him tell me some of these stories.
Simon, were you a photographer from an early age, or how did it come about?
I was admittedly pretty talentless in a lot of things like soccer or skating that other kids my age did, but photography I actually always found exciting. It all started at the skatepark Arena Regensburg. A lot of the kids my age made videos there, but I never thought that was cool. For me, photos were always more interesting. When I was 13, I bought my first camera with the pocket money I had saved up. From that point on, it was all about me. It was my thing from day one.
Who taught you photography?
The idea of doing photography professionally has always floated along but was never concrete. I was a little afraid of losing the fun of the hobby. That’s why I didn’t do a traditional apprenticeship but taught myself how to take pictures. What I appreciated most was the creative freedom of being able to photograph without rules and limits. In the meantime, I have been self-employed for three years and am more than happy about this path.
What is it that you capture with your camera?
I mainly accompany couples on their wedding. Especially in the summer there is quite a lot going on. Apart from that, I do sports and professional reports and business events. During the week I do a lot of couple and family shoots.
What does photography mean to you?
What musicians achieve with their music and filmmakers create through image and sound, I want to do with photos. Photography is my way of expressing how I tell feelings and stories. Whether it’s wedding photos or accompanying athletes, you could say I take photos reportage-wise. The key component is when, how, what moment is captured. When looking at the pictures, stories emerge through their combination and sequence. Without any sound whatsoever, the whole thing is conveyed. Authenticity is particularly important to me. When I photograph couples, I want to depict how they interact with each other privately. I don’t want to make them laugh artificially, but I don’t want to bring them down artificially either. When friends see the pictures, I want them to say, „that’s 100 percent you!“
Are you always behind the camera or are you sometimes in front of it?
Admittedly, I am relatively reluctant to be photographed and am rather rarely in front of the camera. Of course, I have been photographed by photographer friends. Thus, I know the strange feeling at the beginning only too well. Every time I can put myself well into the situation in front of the lens and therefore try to create as pleasant an atmosphere as possible.
Simon, quick questions, quick answers:
My most unusual shooting location was…?
…a house roof with a view over Landshut. It wasn’t even that safe, but it was definitely worth it.
I have never had to cancel a shooting…?
…never. The weather doesn’t always play along, but there are always solutions.
What annoys me the most about shootings…?
… that the sunset and the good light are over so quickly.
When couples cuddle in front of me…?
…that’s completely normal for me by now. But accompanying a marriage proposal, that’s when I’m actually nervous. When you have the ring in your pocket, you take pictures with shaky hands.
My funniest experience was…?
…falling into a stream. You shouldn’t just walk backwards like that when taking pictures.
I would like to take pictures of…?
…no one in particular. But I would find it very exciting to take portraits of old people, whose faces contain so much history.
Cell phone cameras are getting better and better. For me as a photographer, that’s…?
…not a threat, if that’s what you mean. The crucial component is not the technical quality, which is admittedly getting closer and closer, but when, how, which photo is captured. The creativity to create situations to make beautiful pictures, that is the job of a photographer.
In Regensburg, I prefer taking pictures…?
…in front of beautiful house walls, doors or in backyards. It doesn’t need a special place. Away from the busy streets and squares, the old town has great corners to offer.
The gift idea:
What: taking pictures with Simon. That’s what the photographer is calling his sessions, for which he offers vouchers.
How: for your partner, family, or friends. The voucher for a photo shoot (shoots from 350€) can be purchased from Simon at any time and then redeemed by appointment.
Where: whether at the Alpinsteig in Eilsbrunn, on the Danube riverside, in the countless beautiful corners of Regensburg’s old town or at home. Everything is possible.
Why: being photographed by Simon is not so much a shooting as lovely time spent together. A shared experience that you can always remember through the images he selects and edits.
If one is worried about the possibility of no beautiful photo arising, Simon promises: „There is always a beautiful picture, because after all, that’s my job.“
Here, you can reach Simon and get even more impressions of his work.
Author: Verena Geitz