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27.01.2020 David Klammer

X100F "Common Sense": Bettina Flitner x David Klammer

David Klammer

David Klammer was born 29.08.1961 in West-Berlin, Germany. Since 2007 he is member of the Photo-Agency LAIF/Cologne. David Klammer works as photographer and videographer for mayor editorial and corporate clients in the fields of portrait and reportage.

This Sunday morning all is still quiet on Saint-Médard Square in the heart of Paris. Someone is in the process of setting up a vegetable stand. In front of the small church, attendees of the services are taking a few selfies. It’s a beautiful place in one of the metropolis’s oldest quarters.

Christian is there as well, conducting a final soundcheck with his accordion. For 40 years he has been a fixture here every Sunday, playing traditional French chansons. People who live in the quarter, listen, talk and laugh. This isn’t some attraction for tourists – in this area, Paris still belongs to its local residents.

On this day, I am accompanying Bettina Flitner, the well-known photographer, on tour of the city on the Seine with the aim of finding out why she is always bringing along her Fujifilm X100F camera. And I am filming her with my Fujifilm X-T3.  

Slowly people are beginning to gather around, filling the square. One of them is Elisabeth, who is wearing a red hat matching the red purse she is carrying and swinging around as she is dancing to the tunes. There is a choreographer with fiery orange hair, a wheelchair user as well as a clochard, who has brought along a congenial face and a bottle of wine. It’s an intriguing microcosm. And Bettina Flitner is immersed into all of it with her small Fujifilm X100F. She is moving along with the people and the music, laughs and kisses others on the cheeks. She is singing along with some of the songs. It appears as if taking pictures of the people is almost a second thought. Yet she takes powerful photos, intensive and up close. For her, the camera unlocks doors, it’s a communicator with strangers. She says that it is what it takes to establish contracts, connections. Flitner has a curious, keen mind. She is interested in the stories of the protagonists she meets and wants to bring up the same curiosity in those who will see her photographs later. What moves people? The desire to become visible?

Bettina Flitner has been working as a photographer since 1989. Her career was preceded by her receiving training as a filmmaker and this has certainly made an impression on her photographic point of view. Her work frequently has serial characteristics. Images are frequently composed of photographs and text. Her themes cover everything from portraits to political essays to reports.  Bettina Flitner gained acclaim as a result of her public space installations and provocative topics, e.g. long term photo projects covering right wing extremists, johns and prostitutes. To date, she has published ten photographic volumes. Her photographic work has won numerous awards and has been shown at international exhibitions. She has been working with a Nikon system for many years. Recently, she added a Fujifilm GFX 50S and the compact X100F to her equipment. It remains to be seen, where her system technical journey will take her in the future.

We continue and allow chance encounters to occur in the streets. On Rue Mouffetard, which snakes up a hill, we see an older man with distinct facial characteristics. He walks in a slightly stooped over way, is dressed like a dandy and carries an artist’s portfolio under one arm. He stops in front a wall mirror in the street and runs his fingers through his hair. An interesting face. Bettina Flitner approaches him and speaks to him. He is a little reserved and keeps looking at my relatively large video equipment. He seems to consider the small X100F irrelevant. After a while he agrees to be photographed. As Flitner later explains to me, many find a small camera far less intimidating than a large DSLR. She says that it is important to her to always stay in touch with those she portrays, so that they can also see her face and communicate. “Communication” is a term, Flitner likes to use. And deploy – in both directions.  

Twilight is beginning to set in and we hear announcements made through loudspeakers from the Seine River Banks. We see a group of people assembled down there. Some are holding candles in their hands. A protest calling for the release of Julian Assange is underway. Paris would certainly not be Paris, if a band of horn players wasn’t filling the air with their tunes. Bettina Flitner is in her element, easily moving through the group, walking past the musicians and focusing on the charismatic musical director. In her photos, it is the keen awareness, congeniality and curiosity, which are characteristic for Flitner, are clearly evident – along with the non-imposing nature of her camera.

Technology Used for the Video:

  • Fujifilm X-T3 (1080 FHD, LOG, 50FPS)
  • Fujinon XF23mmF1.4
  • Fujinon XF56mmF1.2
  • DJI Ronin SC Gimbal
  • Smallrig Cage for X-T3
  • Zoom F1 Recorder with directional microphone

About David Klammer

David Klammer is both, a photographer and a videographer. His work has won him multiple awards (among others, the World Press Award). Most recently, in 2019, his much acclaimed report covering the battle over the Hambach Forest, won the First Prize for Political Photography, an honor bestowed upon him by “Rückblende.” Klammer works as a freelance photographer for numerous magazines, including the Spiegel, Stern and Geo. He also works for NGOs.

David Klammer has been a Fujifilm X-Photographer since 2019.