„Light's the go-between of space and time.“ John Berger (1926-2017)
To study photography means to learn to see in terms of images. I have always seen photography as a process of cognition. What is a good picture? According to Elliot Erwitt, Magnum Photographer, “A good picture for me is first a well-composed image, second it has something to say that is relevant and third and most important, some kind of magic.” This is what I attempt to convey to my students. These first two points, composition and content, can be taught with rigorous analysis, good tools, examples and experimentation. However, the third, the magic, is the true challenge, and cannot be taught, perse, only hinted at, demonstrated and inspired.
Part of my pedagogical approach takes place in the classroom around the technical aspects of the medium, while the rest takes place in the field, looking at the world with new eyes, and through introducing the students to my own work and to what inspires me. I believe that I could not inspire the students if I were not a producing artist myself. My pedagogical approach is contingent upon my own continuing creative investigation.
Images inspire us to create new images. I believe in introducing my students to the most historically significant images and analyzing them in relation to their contemporary relevance.
An important aspect of the learning process is the discussion of images: those created by the students themselves and those created by others. This critical discourse provides the students with an understanding of the creative, intellectual and technical factors which lead to good visual results. However, theory should not be divorced from practice.
Engagement in projects across different fields of photography enables the students to become familiar with the medium, as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. Through this hands on experience, the students gain an insight into the entire work process from the concept and drafting through production to the final formating and presentation. The opportunity to experiment allows the students to develop and define their own unique artistic style of photography.
Since 2007 M. Leupold was dean (until 2014) of the BTK - University of Art & Design, which he co-founded (among others with Hans-Hendrik Grimmling and Cyrus Khazaeli) and professor of artistic photography and digital image media at the successor institution University of Europe for Applied Sciences, Berlin, online gallery
Photography workshops abroad
New York: Open Letters to NYC, 2007, 2013
Vietnam, 2010, 2011
Russia: Schweizer Milch, Tarkovo, 2011
Romania: In the footsteps of the Lipovans in the Danube Delta, 2012
Lebanon: re-beirut, 2016