Bruno Barbey – Watching the Street

23/04/2020 Frankfurt am Main

In autumn 2017, the wonderful FFF (Fotografie Forum Frankfurt) featured a fine exhibition of documentary photography named “Bruno Barbey – Passages”. It was a cross section of the legendary Magnum Photographer´s 40 years of work on all continents.

Bruno Barbey was born in Morocco in 1941 and has been a full Member of Magnum for many years, with a publishing history in magazines such as Life, Stern, Geo, or National Geographic.

Bruno gives a guided tour through his exhibition at FFF.

Bruno giving a tour through his exhibition at FFF in Frankfurt.

As the participants took off to go out and shoot, Bruno asked me if it was ok for him to join me. Of course I was delighted, and together we took off from the Photography Forum in Braubach-Street towards Bahnhofsviertel (the colorful, rather gritty streets around the main station) and the station itself. We walked, we talked, exchanged tricks and tipps to secretly take candid street shots, and of course we took a lot of pictures.

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Bruno Barbey at work inside Frankfurt main station.

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Heading back to the FFF by tram.

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Portfolio Review. Photo by Marcel Rauschkolb.

When it was my turn for the portfolio review the next day, I handed Bruno a stack of pictures I had taken in Northern Iraq in the previous months. He flipped through the pictures, seemed to like them, but didn´t say much. After he was through he told me: “These are nice pictures. And of course commissioned jobs are important – they get you around the world. But you know, the really meaningful work is usually created in unpaid, personal projects. With Munich street, you have a wonderful, dynamically changing subject matter. I would recommend you: Stick to it for a year or two, or longer. You have the chance to got there everyday and dive in deeper. I´d strongly recommend you to do this, and when you have produced some work, show me, let´s keep in touch!” I was very happy with his feedback, but must admit I haven´t seriously picked up on it. Now, in hindsight and from the seclusion of the Corona Lockdown, I think I will jump into it when things are opening up again. Thank you Bruno – your advice and inspiration is much, much appreciated.