Tuesday, October 8, 2013

OCTOBER 8, 1913



This date has a special significance.  It was 100 years ago that my father was born.  He was a Meisterfotograf (Master Photographer), and it was through his influence and teaching that I set out on a career as a professional photographer myself.  To this day I am still influenced by what I learned from him.  Even this blog most likely would not have materialized without him.

Heinrich Richter
Photograph by daughter Marlies Amling


Thus I hope the readers of this blog will allow me this moment of personal reflections. 

My father always encouraged me to take pictures, to experiment, to find my own way.  For that reason he gave me my first camera, a Leica III with 50mm f/2 Summar lens on my 5th birthday.  This used to be his personal camera and some of the photographs in this article were taken with that camera.

He attended the Hamburg School of Photography.  After graduating he worked as an apprentice with several different photographers and finally earned his degree of Fotografenmeiser (master photographer).

St. Pauli Landungsbrücken Subway Station



Hamburg Harbor

Throughout his career, he never specialized, instead his work ranged from portraits and weddings, via architectural work to product photography.  That is something I am quite thankful for because it allowed me to do the same in my own life.

Unfortunately, cancer took him from us much too early.  I frequently reflect on the fact that I am right now at the same age as he was when he died, and on all the conversations we could have had, had he only lived longer.



My sister followed his footsteps also.  She is now a very successful photographer in Weilburg, Germany.  We often talk about what could have been.  For instance, our dad was an incredibly skillful retoucher.  It still amazes me what he was able to do with a brush and some retouching colors.  We will never know what he would have thought of Photoshop, but we are convinced he would have taken to it quite readily.  As a matter of fact, I am sure he would have readily embraced digital photography as well, but I am also convinced that he would have missed the skills that used to be necessary to be a successful professional photographer before the digital age.




I have several of his cameras in my own camera collection.  Just the other day I marveled once again at his Plaubel Peco Universal view camera and it occurred to me that the majority of photographers today probably have no clue how to operate such a piece of equipment.  Digital photography, combined with computers and software programs like Photoshop have virtually eliminated the need for such camera equipment.  Yet I am very thankful that I still learned to use cameras like it, as well as most of the other, “old” skills that were necessary to succeed in the field of professional photography.  For that I am forever thankful, dad.




-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography
Click on ad to enlarge

Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography
Click on ad to enlarge




10 comments:

  1. Were all the pictures taken with Leica camers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure they were not. Besides Leica cameras, my dad also used medium format and large format cameras. However, I am quite sure that the picture of the little boy climbing the steps and the one with the broken doll were taken with Leica cameras, most likely the Leica III that my dad gave me for my fifth birthday. By the way, the little boy is me.
      The picture below the one with the broken doll is of my mother. It was taken with a 6x9 cm (4x5 inch) camera using a paper negative. At the time, film material was quite scarce and my dad often used single weight photographic paper to make paper negatives instead.

      Delete
  2. Where was your father's business located?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was
      Foto Richter
      Bahnhofstraße 6
      Barntrup
      Germany

      Delete
  3. Never heard of Barntrup. Where in Germany is it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Barntrup is 150 miles south of Hamburg, or 50 miles south east of Hanover, or. to be more specific, it is about half way between Detmold and Hameln (Hamelin), or half way between Lemgo and Hameln.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't that make it south west of Hanover?

      Delete
  5. You mentioned your father using paper negatives. Don't enlargements show the texture of the paper?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they would if the paper had a course texture. However, the paper my dad used had a very fine texture which did not show up even when enlarged. The photograph of my mother in this article was scanned from an 11x14 inch enlargement which was made from a 4x5 inch paper negative.

      Delete