Max Kling - A picture is only a picture when I hold it in my hand as a print.

Max Kling

A picture is only a picture when I hold it in my hand as a print.

We became aware of Max Kling when we were looking for photos from Frankfurt that were tagged with the hashtag #shootgr_frankfurt as part of the GR Cities project. 

Max Kling, born in 1964 in Ludwigshafen/Rhein, describes himself as a "street photographer", but we think his photography goes far beyond what is commonly understood by this term today. In each of his pictures you can see how important the interplay of the factors: person, light and environment is to him. "You need at least two of these factors in ideal interaction to make a good picture. When all three come together, then you can create something great. If you only have one of them, you can safely leave the camera in your pocket" says Max.

This perfection in composition can be seen in Max Kling's pictures and defines his typical independent style.

Max Kling - A picture is only a picture when I hold it in my hand as a print.

RICOH GR III // ISO 125 // Exposure time: 1/2000 sec. // Apperture: F5.6 



Max Kling's photographic beginnings are comparable to many other photographers of his generation. Max grew up as a typical "photo kid" in the 70s. At that time, photography was still largely a male thing (which has fortunately changed significantly in the meantime, as is shown time and again on Instagram under the hashtag #ricoh_gr_women).  

And so he followed with great interest what his father was doing with his SLR camera. His fascination for photography then spread to him, and he began to take pictures with cameras that we are more familiar with today from museums. But it was equipment that taught him to understand time and aperture and helped him to understand the basics of photography under the guidance of his father.

His further photographic curriculum vitae is comparable to many others of his time. School, university and a growing interest in all the other things in life, with photography always running a little alongside.
Even with some success, when in the early 2000s he started photographing historic racing with SLR and Ilford FP4 or Delta films. "Black and white even then" grins Max Kling "because for me classic cars and analogue black and white photography were the ideal combination". His pictures were published in numerous national and international classic car and travel magazines.
But with the disappearance of the last professional black-and-white labs, the development process towards the finished image became more and more complicated and Max took a photographic break.


RICOH GR Digital // ISO 130 // Exposure time: 1/30 sec. // Apperture: F2.4 // 


RICOH GR III // ISO 4000 // Exposure time: 1/50 sec. // Apperture: F2.8


The passion was reignited when Max decided to forego an elaborate camera and the hitherto complicated process and bought his first Ricoh GR Digital with 8.1 MP second-hand in Japan in the 2010s. From then on, the camera was his constant companion. He enjoyed the advantages of a small, compact digital camera that he could always have with him, and took advantage of the possibilities of instant image control and easy transfer of the digital negatives to a developing programme on the computer.



RICOH GR Digital // ISO 800 // Exposure time: 1/290 sec. // Apperture: F3.5 



The choice fell on the GR not by chance, because it offered an image look that corresponded to the image look of his active time in analogue photography. Some of the pictures in the selection shown here, which were taken with early GR models, can be clearly recognised by the stronger grain. But they too have their place for Max, even if he very much appreciates the perfection of the new GR III.

RICOH GR III // ISO 2500 // Exposure time: 1/100 sec. // Apperture: F2.8 // Exposure compensation: -0,3 EV 


For Max, his Ricoh GR III is his daily companion. It helps him to move unobtrusively and attentively around his surroundings in Frankfurt am Main and to miss as few suitable subjects as possible. "I am then in a kind of 'flow' in which a lot of intuition, calmness and at the same time tension and then courage and speed play a role," Max describes his approach and compares street photography with his other two passions, fly fishing and hunting and collecting treasures very early in the morning at flea markets. And if you think about it carefully, you will quickly discover the similarities between the two things that are so different after all.


RICOH GR Digital // ISO 800 // Exposure time: 1/310 sec. // Apperture: F7.1



And if you were to ask him for one piece of advice, it would be exactly that: to move around attentively and full of confidence, to know what you are doing and to trust in a camera that can be mastered quickly and intuitively. In the best case, you then get your picture of the year. But even if at the end of the day you didn't get the photo you wanted, at least you had a lot of fun.

But this is not the end of the process of taking a photo, and the display on the monitor is only one stage on the way to the goal. For Max, the photo is only perfect when it is in front of him as a print, when he can touch it and frame it. That's why he puts as much attention into the image processing and the creation of the print on papers specially suited to the motifs as he does into the photograph itself.


RICOH GR III // ISO 500 // Exposure time: 1/125 sec. // Apperture: F2.8

And with the ambition to share these fine art prints with as many people as possible, it is more than understandable that his photographs can be seen at numerous exhibitions. And not infrequently, as in the case of some of the images shown on this page, his subjects are among the later customers who feel excellently met, and proud to have become one of his subjects.


RICOH GR III // ISO 400 // Exposure time: 1/200 sec. // Apperture: F7.1 



RICOH GR Digital // ISO 800 // Exposure time: 1/9 sec. // Apperture: F2.4 



RICOH GR III // ISO 2500 // Exposure time: 1/200 sec. // Apperture: F5.6 



RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure time: 1/800 sec. // Apperture: F5.6 // Exposure compensation: +1 EV 


RICOH GR Digital // ISO 154 // Exposure time: 1/9 sec. // Apperture: F2.4 


We can also find the results of his passion on Max Kling's website, on Facebook or on his Instagram account.

Max' preferred equipment:

Ricoh GR III camera


A high-end digital compact camera