Interview by Avery Fields/
Photos by Jan Düerkop
Jan Düerkop, 37, from Hamburg, Germany, is our May Photographer of the Month winner. He competed against three other photographers and his photo received the most votes. Düerkop previously won Photographer of the Week during the fourth week of May. His primary focus is to “master the technical aspects of photography and editing.”
We interviewed Düerkop to share his advice and experiences with the greater Bokeh Focus community.
The photos in this story are Düerkop‘s original images (© Jan Düerkop ).
What is the story behind the photos you’ve submitted?
Düerkop explained a little bit about each photo in the story gallery above for us.
Doubled Elphi – Photo 01: I was up very early in the morning to catch the reflection of the rising sun on the Elbphilharmonie here in Hamburg. As there was a puddle in front of me, I was able to create this reflection shot while crouching in the water.
Shattered – Photo 02: A historic building reflecting in the windows of a modern one. I like the kind of “pixelated” look of the reflection of the old building.
Morning Glow – Photo 03: Another shot from early in the morning. This time I made a long exposure of the Docklands office building which is formed like a speedboat. The long exposure time helps to bring up some colors and smooth out the waves.
Windows – Photo 04: The clouds reflecting in the windows of an office building. The building itself is kind of ugly, but as a mirror, it works great!
Breaking free – Photo 05: The sunrise above the industrial harbour of Hamburg, Germany. Shot from the top of a building where we were not supposed to be that early in the morning.
Peak Performance – Photo 06: This picture of the television tower of Hamburg was taken during a blue hour walk with my significant other who is the reason I started photography in the first place and is now one of my biggest motivators to get out and shoot some pics.
Downtown – Photo 07: A city view from inside the luxury shopping district “Jungfernstieg.” It was just a snapshot passing by, but during editing, I saw the potential and cropped some clutter to make them look cleaner.
Evening Sun – Photo 08: My winning photo for the Bokeh Focus Photographer of the Month award in May 2021. It shows the city of Hamburg with its landmark building Elbphilharmonie in the middle. It is usually blue but the reflective windows caught a log of the red sundown.
Glorious Blue – Photo 09: The historic city center during blue hour. For this long exposure, I placed my camera on the railing of a pedestrian bridge. I had to try it several times as the bridge was moving every time another person came onto it.
Burchard Kai – Photo 10: Some big ships in the harbour of Hamburg. This is actually a composition of 3 HDR brackets. The biggest challenge for this was that there was not enough light to shoot with a fast shutter but while using a long shutter some blur occurred due to the movements of the ships and the dock cranes. A lot of manual editing was done to remove those.
Do you have a specific theme or topic that is the focus of your photography?
Düerkop: I started out with tourist attractions in my hometown, Hamburg, and landscape photography. Recently I sort of branched out in the genres of street photography, bokeh/dof (depth of field) and reflections. As a beginner I don’t have a general topic I focus on as my interests are widespread and my own style has still to be developed.
What have you gained/experienced while working with this topic?
Düerkop: As I shoot almost everything my main focus is to have a good composition and to master the technical aspects of photography and editing.
Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t notice about you.
Düerkop: I am actually a computer nerd that is not very outgoing. Photography is helping me to get motivated to leave the house/PC (computer) and scout for new locations and pictures. It is very rewarding for me to get “banger” shots especially after struggling to find the motivation to leave the house.
What’s a piece of advice you would offer to other photographers to encourage their creativity?
Düerkop: Don’t do it for others, do it for you! You should always focus on the part of photography you like most, for example scouting new locations, shooting a specific scene or being creative in general. If you like what you do you will be satisfied even if you don’t have thousands of followers.
We at Bokeh Focus find this selection of Düerkop‘s street photography exploring bokeh/dof [depth of field] and reflections especially appropriate for our website! We’re very happy to be able to feature his work. Jan, congratulations again on your unique work. We hope to see your photography in an exhibit in the future!