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.
My name is Steffi Löffler. I was born in the Eastern part of Germany, in Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz,) but living and working in Munich for more than 20 years now.
Some years ago I started shooting on the streets without thinking too much about it. I think it came how it had to come — on the one hand, I have always loved watching people and special situations, and on the other hand, I have always loved to make pictures. Since I was a child I painted. When I was a teenager, I was part of an artist’s community, with artists in all different media, I preferred oil painting.
I found photography about 2005, I started out with landscapes, after awhile I was getting bored. I had always been interested in people, and in cities, and was always curious to explore, so street was a natural fit for me.
I don’t paint any more, no time, it is all about photography now. But my painting background has given me advantages with color and composition in photography. By the way, I don’t see myself as a photographer, but more as a picture maker.
How do you define “street photography” for yourself?
Hard question. I think there is no exact definition of street photography. Opinions often diverge on one point.
For me it is an easy way to express myself and to feel free. (Of course, it is not always so easy to do that ☺)
Furthermore, when I walk through the streets, for me my camera is like a protective shield.
Does your local situation affect how you are able to shoot? Is there a political climate, social attitudes (or laws) about photographing people in public, or another local factor?
Street photography in Germany I do not find so easy, of course I am doing it anyway.
But I prefer taking photos when I travel, most of all in Asia. Maybe because the people are more open-minded and more full of the joys of life. I think also the new and exotic impressions make me feel positive and free, and so it increases my creativity.
In what ways do you think being a woman has affected your work?
I am not really sure if being a woman affects my work. I don’t think I am doing anything differently than male street photographers. If there are differences in results, that of course is for others to judge. Because this has been more of a male dominated field, I am very glad to see that now more women’s work is coming out. But I still don’t know if women do this any differently than men.
Color or black and white, digital or film?
Both. Until recently I preferred color and digital. Since my last holiday in Hong Kong in December, I changed from this to black and white and film. I hope to be able to show good first results soon.
What photographers can you name who are the most inspirational to you?
Oh there are a lot photographers who inspire me. These are for example Elliott Erwitt, Martin Parr, Robert Frank, Carl de Keyzer, Jesse Marlow, Trent Parker, Elizabeth Avedon … just to name a few.
Is there a special project you are working on? Or recurring themes you are often drawn to?
There are no special projects I am working on. Primarily I want to have fun when taking pictures. Of course, I also want to keep on growing and try something new. But I do not have specific plans. It will come out of myself when the right time comes.