Apr 27, 2013

Sacha Dohmen–Capturing Street Life in Belgium

It is always a pleasure to introduce another artist here at iART CHRONiCLES.  This week I have the pleasure of presenting the street photography of Sacha Dohmen (@maktub77 on EyeEm).  I applaud Sacha who with the help of his wife has overcome our language barrier to answer my questions in English.  Visit the streets of Belgium through Sacha’s eyes!  (Note, you won’t see Scottish Highland Cows on the streets of Belgium, but I had to include one of Sacha’s fabulous photos of this beautiful creature!)

© Sacha Dohmen

© Sacha Dohmen

Geri:  What is your name and where do you live?
Sacha:  My name is Sacha Dohmen, I live in Belgium in a small village in the middle of nowhere between Liège (Belgium), Maastricht (Holland) and Aachen (Germany)

Geri:  When did you get started with mobile photography?
Sacha:  I came to  iPhoneography by accident last year. One day before my annual leave, I broke the viewfinder of my Ricoh GXR, I was so accustomed to hide myself behind my camera that I was not able to take street shots and so I left my camera at home. Already at the airport I was very nervous because I could not photograph, then I remembered my iPhone.  I took thousands of photos within three weeks, most of them not usable but I really loved those were good. Back at home, I found in a library a book about iPhoneography from National Geographic with works of Carlein van der Beek and Richard Koci Hernandez. I was in awe. I had never heard anything about IPhoneography but I knew, that's what I wanted to do.

© Sacha Dohmen
We Are All Puppets (above)

© Sacha Dohmen

Geri:  Do you have a traditional photography or art background?
Sacha:  No, I’m self taught.  I bought my first camera, a Nikon D60, 5 years ago to photograph my holiday in Majorca.  I came back with a lot of photos but especially with the knowledge that I had a lot to learn. So I bought a book from Andreas Feininger and one to learn a bit about Photoshop. From then on, there was only photography for me.

Geri:  Who or what inspires you?
Sacha:  There are a lot of people who influence me. I really love the work of Roger Clay, Koci Hernandez and Dilshad Corleone, three of the best street IPhoneographers I know. My all-time favorite street shooter is Bruce Gilden.  Otherwise, of course Berenice Abbot, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Vivian Meier, Diane Arbus, Robert Doisneau, last but not least the ironic Elliot Erwitt.

© Sacha Dohmen
Wait and See (above)

© Sacha Dohmen
Miles Away (above)

Geri:  Your work is centered around street photography.  Do you find it difficult to approach people?
Sacha:  Yes, 99% of my work are street shots the other 1% Scottish Highland Cows.  My work is hazardous, I earn my daily bread to put me in danger. That made me fearless in the last 10 years.

Geri:  Has anyone ever objected to you photographing them?
Sacha:  Even with the IPhone, your shot doesn’t go unnoticed.  But it never comes to blows and I’ve never deleted a picture. One need only be confident enough.

© Sacha Dohmen
The Devil in Me (above)
© Sacha Dohmen

Geri:  Do you plan your shoots or just photograph what you come across in your day to day life?
Sacha:  I don´t think about it when I shoot.  I’m a walker and my iPhone is a part of the walking.  I’m attentive about the people and situations around me.  I capture a fraction of life later build a storyboard for this person.  All I need is a street and my iPhone to make something extraordinary out of the banal, to create a social drama, to awake emotions.  For me, my motivation to document life and take street shots is to capture and awake emotions. Photography is all about emotions.

© Sacha Dohmen

© Sacha Dohmen

© Sacha Dohmen

Geri:  Do you use the native camera app or a specialized app like ProCamera or 645 Pro?
Sacha:  I use Hipstamatic a lot, then PureShot and Camera+.

Geri:  What are you favorite apps for creating your edits?

© Sacha Dohmen
The Torture Never Stops (above)

© Sacha Dohmen

© Sacha Dohmen

Geri:  Is your editing done on your phone or another mobile device (iPad or other tablet)?  Please share a bit about your editing process. 
Sacha:  I do all my edits on an iPad 3.  For the basics I always start with Snapseed or Filterstorm, then Big Lens or BlurFX to isolate my subject. PhotoToaster  PhotoForge2 and ScratchCam FX and a lot of others for the textures.  Most of the time Lo-Mob for the frame and The Amazing Type-Writer to add text or a title.

© Sacha Dohmen
I’ve Got the Music in Me (above)

© Sacha Dohmen
Dead-End Friends (above)

Geri:  Have you ever exhibited your work?
Sacha:  Only online on sites such as P1xels ( a special thanks here to Mr. Knox Bronson). I´m thinking about an exhibition here in  Belgium with other iPhoneographers. This would be a project that I’d like to achieve this year and perhaps a book about Street iPhoneography.  If anyone has interest, let me know!!!

Geri:  Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Sacha:  Yeah, a special thanks to you Geri for the opportunity to answer your questions.  I would also like to thank all the fantastic mobile community for the support and inspiration the last year.  Especially Catherine Restivo, Rosanna Capiello, Lene Basma and JQ Gaines.

© Sacha Dohmen
Insomnia and the Hole in the Universe (above)

Thank you Sacha for sharing your work and your words!

Find Sacha:  EyeEm / P1xels 

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