Marius Veith(1988) is a fine-art / street photographer based in our very own hometown of Amsterdam. Originally from Germany he now travels the globe, making a living out of his passion. Besides photographing he also writes great articles on the topic (like his blogpost about Gear Avoidance Syndrome) and is co-founder of fine art photography label Neoprime which promotes up and coming photographers and photography in general.
The one thing that fascinated me more than anything else during my photo walks, however, was how incredibly atmospheric everyday life on the streets could be.
So let’s begin at the beginning, what got you into photography and what makes you keep on doing it?
I was looking for my creative outlet all my life and I’ve tried so many different things to express myself, but nothing really worked. I just couldn’t break my chains. To be honest, I was really desperate at the end. My dear friend Felix bought a camera back then and had lots of fun with it. After getting familiar with it, I fell in love with the idea of taking photos of something that fascinates me. I then bought my first cam in 2011 to take some vacation photos and see what this photography world might have to offer… What keeps me going is that photography enables me to express myself in ways I’ve never felt before and it’s my safe harbor as well as my infinite playground. A couple of days ago I was in a really bad mood, but as soon as I grabbed my cam, walked trough the snow and took some shots, I was happy like a little child. Picasso once said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. When I’m taking street photos I’m seeing the world through the eyes of a child and that makes me happier than everything else. I wouldn’t give that up for the world!
Do you make your living with photography?
Yes, I’m lucky enough to make most of my living through photography by now. I give workshops online, license my photos, submit my work to awards worldwide and sell my photographs as signed and limited museum quality prints worldwide. To make my life easier, I add other income sources in the field of marketing from time to time though.
You’ve elaborated about your 365 days project in great detail. Can you tell our readers in short what’s so good about it?
A 365 project is one of the hardest and most challenging projects you can do, but it is also the most rewarding. It will definitely take your photography to the next level, because you’re working on your photography every day. Ray Bradbury once said: “Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.” Ira Glass stressed “Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” There are so many others wo share the notion that if you want to make progress, this concept does wonders.
To be honest, I was about to give up photography at one point, because I couldn’t even take portraits and I still can’t.
What made you venture into the direction of street photography?After two years of taking photos I just couldn’t find anything I truly was passionate about. To be honest, I was about to give up photography at one point, because I couldn’t even take portraits and I still can’t. I thought that photography maybe isn’t meant for me if I can’t even find pleasure in one of the most popular fields of photography. On the verge of quitting I decided to give it one more try with something bigger than I’ve ever done: a 365 project, which changed everything for me. At first I took photos of everything I could find in the city ranging from architecture to streets. It was great that way, but after a while I lacked the fuel that kept my machine running. I didn’t really have a driving force behind my work. The one thing that fascinated me more than anything else during my photo walks, however, was how incredibly atmospheric everyday life on the streets could be. Sure, it felt weird at first to take photos of random strangers, but capturing real moments instead of set up shots immediately mesmerised me. Since I was young I always loved to look around in cities and just observe people walking around. I always thought something was slightly off with me, because it didn’t really make sense back then. I’m so happy that I finally found a way to turn this weirdness into something beautiful for me and others.
I’m living by a wonderful syndrome I like to call: “Gear Avoidance Syndrome”
Do you prefer to work with a long lens and keep out of peoples personal area (or in your own comfort zone, if you will) or do you rather get up-close and personal?
I started out with a 50mm 1.4 on a 5D Mark II, which is fairly up-close. I don’t like to take photos from very far away. I want to be part of the scene I capture. You’ll never see me with a 300mm up in a tree. After I sold the 50mm I picked a 35mm 2.0 to make my stage bigger. I have to get more up-close now, but I’ve developed some awesome strategies to never get discovered and to annoy people as little as possible. A couple of days ago I sold the 35mm 2.0 after a year to make the stage even bigger with a 24mm 1.4. I guess I have to go full ninja now. In case you wonder why I always sell my lens and only use one body and lens, I’m living by a wonderful syndrome I like to call: “Gear Avoidance Syndrome”. Although there are less gear options available, you’ll find more creative ways to capture what you feel! In a way, all your technical options before turn into creative solutions with your minimal set-up.
With all your travels, you must’ve experienced some interesting adventures! Any stories you’d like to share with us?
Where do I start. One of the most surreal moments I’ve ever experienced was in Chiang Mai in Thailand. That night rain was pouring down and all of a sudden, there were thousands of tiny cute frogs jumping through the flooded streets. It looked like an awesome plague of biblical proportions. I also loved it when the people in China saw us Europeans for the first time and we ended up on around 50 family vacation photos. Or the time we were told at the airport in Phuket that we exceeded the weight limit for domestic flights by 9kg and we wore 10 layers of clothing in the steaming heat to avoid the ridiculous and excessive fee they wanted to charge us. Oh my god, I’ll never forget the moment my German friend was asked in the US during a security check: “Do you have a knife on you?” and he replied “Yes” three times in a row getting more and more furious about this repetitive question and answer game, because he understood “Do you have an iPhone?”
What can we expect from Marius in the future?
Basically two things. On the one hand I will twist and turn “The Human Element in an Urban World” as much as I can to create new wonderful moments. I’m convinced that I’m just at the beginning of the endless worlds that this concept has to offer. I can’t wait to come up with new sets and roam the streets of the world for golden milliseconds. On the other hand I will pour all my heart and soul into my International Fine Arts Label NEOPRIME to show the world how incredible photography can be and support uprising artists. We’ve sold quite a few signed and limited museum quality prints so far and on top of that welcomed two highly talented photographers from the US and Scotland to our label.