Hans Severin was born in 1966, lives and works in Hannover, Germany. He started taking digital photography in Paris and London in 2006. He describes himself as a self-taught amateur photographer. In 2017 he presented his first Visual-Storytelling-Project, which is available here.
Statement: I love the street and I love the people.
You can find Hans Severin on the Web:
What is your first childhood memory?
When I was 7, my hamster died… and my world collapsed.
Are you still learning who you are?
A definite “No”
Who are you when no one is looking at you?
What got you involved in photography in the first place?
A professional re-orientation. This feeling, afterward, to be home on time after work, to have regular shifts in my job as a police officer, was a gift from Heaven. And then I needed a hobby.
Ansel Adams once said: You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved. Could you tell us about your favorite photographs, books, music and people who are closest to you?
I don‘t read books, hear few music. I’m a fan of the so-called “New Color Photography“. I love the works of Fred Herzog, Saul Leiter, Joel Sternfeld, and Stephen Shore. And: I love my girlfriend. And she loves it, when I find the time to load and de-load the dishwasher, in spite of my hobby.
There is a thin line between invading people’s privacy and taking their photographs. Why do ethics matter?
My street photography has boundaries. No children, no disabled persons, no homeless people. I try to keep those boundaries.
Bruce Gilden claims that photography is a voyeuristic medium. Does it resonate with you?
I agree 100 %.
Have you ever acted rude in front of people you have tried to photograph?
Never. Respect, tolerance, politeness, and kindness are everything. For me, this is also valid outside of street photography.
Have you ever been following your subject that the person could eventually think you are a stalker or a pervert?
No situation comes to mind.
Gloria Steinem once said: The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. Are you getting nervous when someone goes deeper and scrutinizes your work?
I think, I can manage criticism very well. I can take a lot, and I can also give a lot. I can be very direct. It’s part of my personality and one of my character traits.
What if you take images for a couple of years and do not get a positive audience reaction? Would you be still taking them?
Yes. I will continue to take pictures until I drop, and nothing’s possible anymore.
Do you often get jealous of someone’s achievements?
No. I do not begrudge others their success. That‘s one of my greatest strength.
If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of another artist, who would you choose and why?
A Hans Severin (as a German street photographer) is good enough for me.
What artist made the most impact on you and why?
There are a lot of artists who impress me. Listing all of them would surely go beyond the scope of this questionnaire.
If you could have personally witnessed a perfect street scene at the right decisive moment, what would you want to have seen?
Is there something like the perfect street scene? I don’t think so. Every street photographer is looking for that one picture, that could maybe make him/her just a little more famous.
If you could witness and photograph any historical moment of the past, present – or future – what would it be?
I never thought about such things.
What is on your photography bucket list this year?
This year I want to take photos in Vienna and Amsterdam … a kind of “City Diaries”
What do you like to do outside of photography?
I like to watch football (soccer) and also like to visit bars with friends. I love being around people.
Blind and live forever or be able to see and die in a couple of years?
I am glad to be able to see, and hope to be able to continue delivering great street photography pictures for many years to come.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
He lived his life… and loved it.
About Arek Rataj
“You Can Shoot. Can You Talk?” is a series of interviews created by Arek Rataj. He is a Qatar-based journalist, contemporary photographer and educator.
Arek was born in a small industrial district in communist Poland under the Soviet Union dictatorship. In midst of this human misery, political hypocrisy, environmental dirt and ugliness, he became particularly sensitive for all signs of beauty and transcendence.
You can find Arek Rataj on the Web:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Hans Severin. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.
As well as great photography, your thoughts are equally inspiring
Thanks a lot, John…. I am very happy about your comment.
Really interesting interview! your thought has really inspired me alot towards photography. I really liked that point when you described your boundaries. you are really a great photographer.
Thanks, Brandon… Greets from Hannover/Germany.