Rider’s Lens: Fabian Tegeler’s Photography
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In our latest edition of Rider’s Lens, we examine the work of Berlin-based photographer Fabian Tegeler, who shares an eclectic mix of images from around the city and his two-wheeled travels abroad, plus some thoughts on getting the most out of whatever equipment you have. See more here…
Words and photos by Fabian Tegeler (@rittrelevanz)
Hi, my name is Fabi, but most of my friends call me Taube, which is German for “pigeon.” I like traveling, taking pictures, and riding my bike. I also enjoy a nice cold beer here and there and love sleeping in my hammock in the great outdoors. My passion for photography, traveling, and eventually bikepacking all developed as a result of another love of mine: skateboarding. Growing up, it was all I could think about. One of my earliest memories of becoming interested in photography is flicking through the skate and travel magazines at the train station newsagent and being fascinated by the photos.
In a time before the internet took over, this was a regular escape from reality for me. I soon started buying all sorts of cheap second-hand cameras from flea markets and little photography stores to document my friends skateboarding and hanging out in the streets. Most of these cameras would last only a week or two before they got lost or got broken at some house party.
The older I got, the more obsessed I became with photography. My brief visits to newsagents turned into prolonged sessions of looking through photo books at the library in my hometown. I later traveled around the world for a few years and always had some little camera with me, taking pictures mainly for myself, as a kind of visual diary. My main focus at this point was still skateboarding and street life, but I was also documenting the different cultures I came across while traveling.
I started to receive more and more positive feedback about my pictures, which eventually led to my decision to move to Berlin to study photography. With my bones slowly growing older, my passion for jumping off things on a skateboard also shifted more towards cruising around on my bike to experience the world, always with a camera around my neck. I love observing my surroundings and letting images tell stories.
My camera gave me a way to communicate and connect with strangers from all backgrounds much more easily. Taking pictures of people allowed me to get to know them a little and capture a moment in their life. I also enjoyed having a creative outlet and being able to create memories that I can look back on for the rest of my life. Without photography, I would have forgotten many of the special little moments I experienced. Traveling by bike actually changed the way I took pictures, too. I became a bit slower and started putting more thought into my shots. Perhaps this has to do with the calm and thoughtful nature of traveling by bike.
I’m currently living and working in Berlin and I’m doing my best to get by in these strange times. Whenever the situation allows it, I try to organise longer trips, but recently I’ve mostly been on little one-nighters around Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg with my friends, just to forget about our everyday worries, get our bodies moving, and sit by the fire in the evening chatting before getting in our hammocks and dreaming of a Corona-free future.
Ever since my first bike trip I’ve been dreaming of doing a mega tour. From Berlin to Asia, for example, or the Pan-American Highway, or through the whole of Africa. Anything, as long as I’m in the saddle for at least a few months, never knowing where I’ll be setting up camp next. That sense of complete freedom that only my bike travels are able to give me is my lifeblood. When it finally happens, I’d like to make a photo book about the journey, have an exhibition in Berlin, and maybe even create a video documentary.
Fabian’s Photography Gear
For me, the best camera is whatever I happen to have with me, whether it’s a disposable, a smartphone, or an SLR. I always try to get the most out of what I’m working with. I’m not a fan of dealing with tons of different lenses, external flashes, or overpriced equipment. I like to keep things simple, practical, and compact.
I used to experiment a lot with analog techniques, like making pinhole cameras out of matchboxes or modifying disposable cameras with handmade filters. These days, on tour as well as for personal and commercial use, I mainly stick with my Fuji XT2 with a 35mm 2.0 fixed focal length. I like my pictures to stay close to the human field of view. I tend to use the natural interplay of sunlight and shadow in my images and almost never use a flash. The camera is almost always around my neck, but when it gets too wet or too bumpy I wrap it in a towel and stuff it in one of my bags.
Marrakesh, Morocco, 2019. I think this image says a lot about my style of photography. It’s a simple street scene as it happens every day, spotted on a bike trip in Morocco. The lighting, colours, and composition, as well as the interplay of the architecture and people, make this shot one of my personal favourites. I love spending time in lively places, watching the life around me, and waiting for an interesting moment to capture.
About Fabian Tegler
Born in Germany in 1983,Fabian Tegeler sold hot dogs at the petrol station in his home village and trained sled dogs in Norway. He worked as a farmer in Switzerland, picked bananas in Australia, and broke his leg in India. His passion for adventure and photography led him to Berlin, where he studied photo design and still lives and works today. Find him online at @rittrelevanz and FabianTegeler.com.