Last autumn, French photographer and Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2016 finalist William Daniels (born 1977) was offered the opportunity to field-test the new Leica M10. His journey took him from the Romanian capital of Bucharest to the coast of the Black Sea, and up north to Romania’s second-largest city, Cluj-Napoca.
Mister Daniels, what made you decide to become a photographer, and what are your most predominant themes?
When I was in my mid-twenties, I traveled to Latin America and the Philippines and started to take amateur photographs. On my return, I completed a one-year photography training in Paris, before going back to the Philippines to shoot my first professional story on street children in Manila. This story led to assignments for French publications such as Le Monde. I still do commission work for magazines, particularly the National Geographic, which in the past six months has taken me to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Pakistan. At the same time, I also pursue my own independent projects. For example, I have visited the civil-war torn Central African Republic several times since 2013.
Does your approach vary depending on whether you are working on a magazine commission or shooting an independent project?
Not directly, and not while I’m shooting. But there are differences when it comes to the editing process. For my own projects, I tend to choose images with a more poetic, subjective visual language, while the magazine selections are more based on factual and informative content.
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