Heinz Richter – Featured IPA member
I was born and educated in Germany where I grew up in the photography business of my father in the small town of Barntrup, 50 miles southwest of Hanover. This gave a very early exposure to photography. My father always encouraged me to take pictures. For that reason he gave me a Leica III with 50mm f/2 Summar and 135mm f/4.5 Steinheil Culminar for my 5th birthday. I still have that camera, but it has not been used for many years after I changed over to digital. I also learned my initial darkroom skills from my father. I did a lot of black and white printing. Even though I left the paper safe open on several occasions, my father kept encouraging me to keep on printing and experimenting. Besides my Leica, I also had the opportunity to use my father’s professional equipment via medium format to large format cameras. One of my prized possessions is a complete Plaubel Makina outfit with three lenses, several roll film holders and even single sheet film holders. This is the camera my dad started his business with.
In 1969 I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I worked in a Camera Store, Jay’s Cameras, for 10 years after which I started my own photography business. In 1984 I also became the head of the photography department at a local college, where I taught two professional photography courses for 13 years. After that I concentrated solely on my photography business, GMP Photography. The main aspects of my photography were weddings, portrait and portrait related photography and architectural photography.
I am now semi-retired and have scaled down my business ventures considerably. I am now in the lucky position to be able to do mostly work that I like, which is mostly portrait and related photography. Since I have always been quite interested in the arts, I have made that an important part of my photography as well. That includes photography of the female nude and Photosculptures. I created Photosculptures as an artistic way to combine photographs of sculptures with photographs of models, where part or parts of the sculpture is replaced with parts of the model photograph. This requires considerable work in Photoshop. Part of the reason for this venture was my desire to utilize Photoshop as an artistic tool rather than just a means to enhance images as they come out of the camera.
Having been a Leica owner for many years, I started the LEICA Barnack Berek Blog in February of 2012. As the name indicates, this blog deals almost exclusive with Leicas and Leica equipment, the history of the company and the camera as well as current trends and events. It is not my intention to make this blog an accumulation of equipment oriented articles. While Leica cameras and lenses are certainly an important part of the blog, I also include information about the history of the camera, and photography with the Leica. After all, cameras are meant to be used to take photographs. However, that doesn’t mean at all that the blog ignores the Leica collector. Leicas are collected in larger numbers than any other camera, which further underlines the far reaching aspects of this intriguing camera brand.
Finally, in my spare time I used to fly small engine planes, mainly a Piper Cherokee. That, however, proved to be an expensive hobby meaning that unfortunately I have not been at the controls of a plane for many years. My other great love is sailing. I got my first boat when I was 12 years old and have sailed ever since. I now own a 28 foot Bob Perry designed Mirage which I keep on Lake Pepin at the Lake City Marina, about 80 miles south of Minneapolis. Lake Pepin is a naturally widened part of the Mississippi, about 23 miles long and 2.5 miles at its widest part. My wife and I spend many weekends during the summer on that boat. When the Minnesota winter replaces the sailing season, I like to go out cross country skiing which too offers many opportunities to take pictures.
I feel fortunate to have been able to combine my professional life with my hobbies and hope to be able to continue to do so for many years to come.