Jens Franke combines street photography with portraiture to capture images that are both intimate and mysterious

Jens Franke is a professional designer and photographer from Stuttgart. His passion for photography started during his exchange semester in Rio de Janeiro. He was so impressed about the versatility and tensions between the different population groups living together in one mega city.

To share his impressions he started a blog where he posted his personal view on the city. Back in Germany, his aroused wanderlust took him to exciting destinations in Columbia, Morocco, Europe and the US.

Capturing fleeting emotional moments of people, whether of happiness, sadness, joy, anxiety or loneliness became his goal of each journey.


X-E1 with XF35mm – f/1.4, 1/125sec, ISO800

With all the possible exotic places in mind, and having grown up in the Bavarian Alps, I thought Stuttgart would be quite a boring place to live when I was here for the first months. To keep myself entertained I started to watch out for the subtle adventures of every day life. My camera got the main pretense for my everyday strolls through the little neighborhoods here. It worked out for me! I sensitised my view and step by step I got used to the rhythm of the city. Sometimes i feel like Daniel Quinn in Paul Auster’s fiction `City of Glass` when he is loosing himself in the city of NY.

X-E1 with XF35mm – f/1.4, 1/4000sec, ISO200

I really like Austers quote in this book: “In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere out of the world.”

X-E1 with XF35mm – f/8, 1/125sec, ISO800

While I started photographing the people in the streets of Stuttgart, I got more and more interested in individual portraiture and the story behind the people. In my last Exhibition “Little Districts”, I combined street photography and portraiture to enable my visitors to see my city from both an intimate and a mysterious perspective at the same time.

X-E1 with XF35mm – f/1.4, 1/60sec, ISO400


X-E1 with XF35mm – f/4, 1/40sec, ISO400

During the last two years I’ve traveled to Morocco four times to capture the glimpse of the Moroccan spirit close to the western Saharan border and the region around Marrakech. But a lot more I wanted to illustrate the people in their every day life – Moroccos inhabitants are the real points of interest of the country!

X-E1 with Contax C/Y Sonnar 85mm – f/2.8, 1/320sec, ISO400
X-E1 with Contax C/Y Sonnar 85mm – f/2.8, 1/125sec, ISO400
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/1.4, 1/1200sec, ISO400
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/2.8, 1/3000sec, ISO200


Most of my current images are taken with this Lineup:

  • Fuji X-E1
  • Every Day Lens: Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R
  • Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R
  • Fujinon XF 18mm 1:2 R

I really like the unobtrusiveness of the X System. With my blacktaped E1 I got barely noticed on the street and my whole equipment fits in a small camera bag. Since Street Photography is often a matter of performance i also like the intuitive controls and the customizable function keys. I made my X-E1 behaving like the Contax G2 which handling i loved. I set the focus via thumb and set the lightning via pressing the shutter halfway down. For a better handling i use the additional and pretty ergonomically handgrip.

I also enjoy the analog developing process and some of my other work is photographed by analogue medium and 35mm cameras.


To see more, you can visit Jens Franke’s website here or follow him on Facebook here.

7 thoughts on “Jens Franke combines street photography with portraiture to capture images that are both intimate and mysterious”

  1. Great shots here in this article. I especially love the first Morocco shot (man with the red scarf). You’ve really caught the personality and spirit of the people. Enjoyed the article!

  2. Thanks for the good article and the beautiful pictures! How can I get the same settings like Jens Franke on a X-E1 with focussing with the thumbs and get the lightning with the shutter?

    1. Hi Andi,

      you can switch your lens in manual fokussing in front of your camera (MF) and press AE-L/ AF-L for focussing. Metering works by pressing the shutter half down. You can also focus manual in this mode. The only thing wich i have not figured out is how to remove the distance scale in the viewfinder which i don’t like for my operations.

      Regards, Jens

      1. Hi Jens,

        thanks for your quick response! I quote your answer in a closed group at Facebook and I get this answer for you: “how to remove the distance scale in the viewfinder”

        Maybe it will help you!?

        Kind regards, andi

      2. Hi Andi,

        this setting is just removing the scale from the main display. Not from the viewfinder i guess. But thanks anyway for your research!

        Kind Regards, Jens

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