Samuel Lintaro Hopf found his way to photography by showing and capturing something he was passionate about: skateboarding. And here the often used term 'holding on' naturally gets a special meaning. Because the tricks of the skateboarders are fleeting and their aesthetics can hardly be grasped ... it is only in photography that it becomes apparent what is too quickly passed in the live show. This is why Lintaro sees his own challenge in photography, especially in documenting, in filtering out the moment. Whether it's on the street or on reportage jobs. And as a young photographer, it is self-evident to him that a camera today produces not only still but also moving images. For him, photography and video productions are a natural part of his professional agenda, and an essential part of his jobs are reports on street photographers worldwide, which he publishes on his YouTube channel.
This matter-of-course ability to use different channels is certainly based on his education: in 2013 he completed his communication design studies with a book about international music students at a Hamburg conservatory: portraits of students on the one hand as musicians, and private portraits in their respective living situations on the other. What is striking about these pictures is that Lintaro Hopf has learnt a precise sense of composition and surface division in addition to a wide variety of media with typography and graphics. This variety of media, from books to videos, is not only evidence of his modern approach to visual design - it is always about presenting something, telling something and also about interpreting what is visible around us.
If you ask Lintaro in which field of photography he prefers to work, he doesn't have to think long. He generally sees himself as a reportage photographer. So whether he reports on the life situation of musicians or whether he illuminates the special aspects of a sport. With pictures that arise before him, in which he can immerse himself as daily or special situations, to explore the world around him - that is his goal. However, he is not interested in working according to a predetermined documentation concept. To let himself drift, to see the situation unfold, is the best basis for him to take pictures. There you can see the similarities to his skating youth, even if it's been a while since they started. Instead of his board, he now travels with his camera, capturing his urban environment quickly and intuitively, in which he roams around without a goal as far as possible. This special form of reportage is his element: street photography.
But this style is rather just the form, the approach ... so without content, effects and habits are used up and degenerate into photographic reflexes, remain in the mainstream: then the pictures swim in the endless stream of cool pictures that tell nothing about their makers, except that they want to be cool. So 'where is your story?' is always a question for images that photographers present to me. And one question that is particularly important to me is: 'What does this story have to do with you?'
Since Lintaro has provided me with a compilation of images that span an enormous arc in space and time, there were different approaches ... there were different things: from humorous everyday surrealism to chiseled compositions in which human forlornness plays big tennis.
Surprisingly, however, the inconspicuous pictures stood out. Already in a first conversation during a train ride in spring 2019 Lintaro told us that he is particularly attracted to 'normal moments'. In the trivial flow of time, the photographer briefly presses the pause button and turns a minimal pause into a moment. I choose this formulation with the 'pause button' because I know that Lintaro also makes a lot of movies. The contrast of the moving and still image is therefore a part of his daily work between photography and film. And the concentration on pausing is a conscious statement about photography. Here it is not about the frozen action, the amazing spontaneous compositions through shadows, shapes and colours or the brief intoxication in the glowing light. It is about the minimal intimacy of a short look that you exchange with each other - and about the short sigh when you come to rest in everyday life; the longing because you have quickly dreamed yourself away or the concentration on something distracting ... it is about the human view of our direct, close surroundings. Even if this environment is sometimes in Great Britain, Japan, Canada or Germany in these pictures by Samuel Lintaro Hopf.
Here, of course, the suspicion arises that a photographer who grew up as half-Japanese/half-German between two very different cultures, for whom globality is something normal, sees a home in the primeval humanity that connects us all. The understanding of people as home ... here pictures let us look a little behind the smile of a photographer and become his very special subject.
The fact that he owes this kind of photography in particular to RICOH GR is important to him. The camera is small and discreet, does not build up any distance to the people around him and still delivers pictures for professional demands.
Samuel uses the following equipment for his photography: RICOH GR II and RICOH GR III