Tenba Translator: Photo Etiquette in Germany
/ Published by TenbaPacking your Tenba bag for a trip to Germany? We asked German photographer Elias Wessel how to ask nicely when you want to take someone’s picture there.
How do you ask people if you can photograph them in German?
Elias Wessel: "Darf
ich bitte ein Foto von ihnen machen?" (May I take a picture of you,
please?) Or "Ich würde gerne ein Foto von Ihnen machen." (I would like
to take a picture of you.)
Is there an equivalent to saying “Cheese!” in Germany?
Elias Wessel: Yes, it's "Cheese!" People say it in English.
Are people comfortable with being photographed on the street in Germany?
Elias Wessel: It
depends on where you go, but in general, people will ask why you're
taking their picture. They'll be curious about what the picture is for
and how you want to use it, because you're a stranger to them. It's not
like in New York, where there are a lot of people who are dying to be in
I was just starting out in Germany, I worked as an assistant for a
photographer, and one of the jobs he gave me was to approach strangers
on the street and ask to take their picture. I always started by
explaining why I was taking the pictures and why I wanted to photograph
that particular person, to make them feel comfortable.
Elias Wessel (b. 1978 in Bonn/Bad Godesberg) is a fashion photographer living in New York City.
Wessel studied Art History, Visual Communication and Photography in Germany. He did his master's at the University of Art and Design Offenbach am Main. Already during his studies he worked for numerous renowned photographers, studios, advertising agencies, and design bureaus in Hamburg, Paris, and New York.
His activities in street art were the first medium to inspire Wessel to work in the visual arts. Meeting with Sigmar Polke in Bonn 1997 had him drawing and painting before he pursued photography.
Wessel’s images are described as the intersection between fashion and fine art photography. His work is a particularly elegant blend of stylization, magical realism, and an intense color palette. A sophisticated blend of opposites—sexuality and innocence, pop and noir, dynamism and control—telling infinite stories.
Elias Wessel has already worked with models such as Omahyra Mota, Lydia Hearst, Amanda Lepore, Camilla Alves and Iekeliene Stange, and collaborated with Amanda Lepore, Betsey Johnson, MNDR, Naeem Khan, Cynthia Rowley, Aaron Basha, Stefan Sagmeister, and Paola Antonelli, among others.
His work can be found in art and fashion magazines, cover stories, advertising campaigns, celebrity portraits, booklets, and exhibitions.
Visit Elias' Web site to see his work.
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