Featured Photophile, our recurring segment showcasing talented amateur photographers, is back. Today we’re spotlighting a young photophile named Lorenz Gohlke, known to his pals as Enzo. Enzo is a classic example of today’s modern photo geek – a young person who started on digital, discovered film, and fell in love with the craft of photography.
Check out some of his shots below, and visit his portfolio and Instagram linked at the bottom of the piece to see more of one young man’s exploration of documentary and street photography.
Hey Enzo – introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, my name is Lorenz Gohlke, most people call me Enzo, but it would take too long to explain why. I am eighteen years old and live near Munich, Germany. I am currently dealing with my Abitur, the German High School finals and am preparing for a year of travel following that. I am planning on studying political studies in Munich and would like to incorporate photography in my following work life. I’ve traveled to a number of countries, including Cuba, Vietnam and many more and truly fell in love with exploring different cultures with my camera.
When did you start shooting? What’s your favorite camera, and why do you love it? What type of film do you use, and why?
I got into photography at quite a young age. I can’t exactly remember when, but it was probably when I got my first digital point-and-shoot. I didn’t shoot a lot back then, but always took pictures here and there. About two year ago, I got a very nice DSLR and some great glass, but was somewhat disappointed by the form factor of the camera and wasn’t too happy with how it felt shooting it. It was too big and hindered me from taking the shots I wanted to. Due to being unsatisfied with that camera and a family member wanting to gift me his complete darkroom setup, I got into film photography and that completely changed my perspective on photography.
That lead me to selling all my digital gear and to invest in my favorite camera, a Leica M6 with a 35mm Summicron. I simply love it. It’s small, portable and produces amazing results, especially when paired with my preferred film, Ilford HP5+. I usually push it 2 stops (400 -> 1600) and love the gritty, grainy and contrasty look it delivers. Paired with a 35mm lens, the resulting look resembles old school documentary and press photograpy, which I really adore.
Another essential piece of my kit is the Kodak Pakon F135+ film scanner, which not only allows me to scan a complete roll of 35mm film in an incredibly short amount of time, but also produces beautifully sharp results. Switching to film was probably the best decision I could have made to improve my photography, not only because of learning new processes in the darkroom, but also because it forced me to become more selective.
What are your favourite subjects, and why?
My favorite subjects usually are people and objects I find whilst walking around. Not only in a typical street photography sense, but also buildings, geometry, and things that resonate with my sense of composition. I wouldn’t refer to myself as a street photographer, but as a documentary photographer, though some would argue that those are the same thing. I just tend to look for subjects that provoke a certain feeling in me.
Why do you shoot film? Do you also shoot digital? How would you explain the differences between film and digital?
I love the process! Spending time in the darkroom, developing film and enlarging prints are all incredibly enjoyable processes for me. The feeling of working with physical objects, pouring developer, inspecting negatives, setting focus on an enlarger and turning the light on to inspect a finished print are impossible to replicate in a digital workflow. I also enjoyed the process of choosing my favorite film and developer, it’s like looking for that ideal pair of shoes or even deciding on your preferred food in a new restaurant.
I sold all of my digital gear to afford my Leica, but I am currently thinking about buying a small digital mirrorless camera, which works with my M glass, to have an always ready digital setup. I recently had my Hasselblad 500CM fail on me during a shoot for a band, and that made me start to think about whether or not I can fully trust film. I haven’t decided yet, if I actually am gonna get into digital again, but we’ll see.
What’s unique about your work?
I am still at a very early point in my photographic career and I am not sure what defines me as a photographer yet, but the style I’ve been enjoying most is gritty, high contrast and melancholic black-and-white photography. I hope that my use of thought provoking composition paired with these aforementioned aspects and my interest in different cultures results in a unique way of looking at the world.
Where do you hope your photography goes from here?
I am working on releasing several bodies of work this year and dream of being able to support a life by doing documentary photography. I am still somewhat undecided about what I am going to do in my future life, but I am definitely going to incorporate photography in my daily life. I am also slowly getting into 4×5 photography and hope that the format resonates with my photography.
Do you have any advice for new photographers?
Don’t focus on gear! I know, it might be easy for me to say this and I might agree with you on that since I am extremely lucky to shoot a Leica, but I must admit, that my Olympus Stylus Epic can keep up with my 35mm Summicron! What I am trying to say is that you should work on yourself as a photographer and not on your kit. But what to do with all that money you saved from not getting that Mamiya 7 you’re lusting after? Buy photobooks! Buy as many as possible, get a storage locker if you need to! Well, don’t do that, but seriously the inspiration you can get from photobooks definitely outweighs the benefit of a nice camera. At the same time, there is nothing stopping you from trading cameras and I would encourage you to do that! Start of with a TLR, swap that for a SLR and maybe get a rangefinder afterwards. The great aspect of that process is that your photographic style will change with every new type of camera. For me, I started shooting architecture after getting a waist level medium format camera and got into up close street photography after getting my Leica. Try different types of camera, but don’t waste your time trying every single F body Nikon ever made.
[All images used with permission]
Many thanks to Enzo for sharing his work here. If you’d like to have your photos featured on Casual Photophile, tag your photos with #featuredphotophile on any social media post, or send a message to Contact@FStopCameras.com.