Dominik Mattern Captures the Right Moments in Black and White Street Snaps

Armed with a Fujifilm X-T3 and a 35mm lens, Berlin-based Dominik Mattern has made it his mission to create emotive street photography inspired by black and white and Robert Frank. 

I am Dominik Mattern and I started shooting street photography about eight months ago. I prefer shooting black and white because it gives the picture stronger lines and contours. For me, this supports the emotions inside a picture. I am from Berlin and this is where I mostly take my pictures. I use a Fujifilm X- T3 and most of the time I shoot with a 35mm lens. In the future, I want to grow as a photographer and I want to start my first projects.

Why did you get into photography?

I got into photography when I was a child. I had a simple Nikon and shot everything I saw. Later, I started to focus on one part of photography and now it has become my passion.

What photographers are your biggest influences?

My biggest influence in street photography is Robert Frank.

How long have you been shooting?

Since I was a child. I don’t know at what age I have started.

Why are photography and shooting so important to you?

Photography helps me to see things differently. When I look through my viewfinder I can escape from my world and capture moments.

Do you feel you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?

I like to work with light and that’s more creative, but I also do capture real moments. So I would say I am a mixture of both. I try to make creative documentaries.

What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically?

Before I start shooting I care about my camera settings to make sure I can concentrate on the moment and don’t have to worry about the settings. After setting up my camera I walk around and look for interesting people or places. You can’t really plan to make a street photograph. You have to be at the right place in time.

But mostly, I have an idea in mind what kind of picture I want to shoot, like if I want to concentrate on light, interesting people, or moments.

Want to walk us through your processing techniques?

I don’t have a real routine.

Tell us about the project you’re pitching, or your portfolio.

I concentrate on black and white pictures. I am very self-critical about my work so before I add a picture to my portfolio I think a lot about it. My portfolio isn’t that large yet but I try to get it bigger. Most of the pictures were taken in Rome. What a wonderful city with amazing possibilities to take pictures.

What made you want to get into your genre?

I did struggle a long time to find a genre in photography that suits me the best because I was interested in so many things like landscapes or animals. One day, I came across street photography and I was amazed by it! I loved the fact that you can practice it everywhere when you are surrounded by people, which is always given when you live in a big city. The work of Robert Frank inspired me as well because he was a genius for taking pictures which give you the feeling of being right at the moment.

Street photography captures moments in life which you can’t plan, and that’s what fascinates me the most. You have to be right at the moment.

Tell us a bit about the gear that you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision.

Actually, I use a Fujifilm X-T3 and mostly my 35mm Fujinon lens. The camera is perfect for me because of its compact size. I prefer to shoot with a 35mm lens. When you use a prime lens you don’t even have to think about your focal length. You know what you’ll get and that’s perfect.

What motivates you to shoot?

I want to create pictures that people would look at twice. I want to document and tell a story with my pictures.

Visit Dominik Mattern’s website to see more of his work.


Photos and text by Dominik Mattern. Used with permission.