Short profile

Peter Kalnbach lives in Hamburg and describes himself as a visual storyteller. As a self-taught artist, he has his own unique approach to composition and image composition. The dark, often mysterious atmosphere of his motifs quickly attracted attention on social networks. His Instagram account @street.nomad_ alone now has over 63,000 followers.

“After I started posting my images on Instagram and built a decent following, I started to engage more with the community. Acquiring street.grammers, one of the leading hubs for street and urban photography, and co-founding the.commuterstock were other important milestones for me.”

Today, his photographs can be seen in public exhibitions, most recently as part of the “Cinematic Street Photography Exhibition” in Hamburg. In addition, he organizes successful photography workshops. In the interview, you can learn more about his working methods and what fascinates him so much about the neo-noir staging of urban scenes.

Peter Kalnbach holding a camera


Can you tell us a little bit about how you became a photographer?

I started photography in 2017 in the lead up to a New York trip. On my previous visits to the city, I had always been very dissatisfied with my snapshots and had set a goal to better capture the spirit of the city with my images this time around. So I bought a "real" camera and taught myself photography and topics like image composition by means of Youtube. I am still very satisfied with the results of that trip. In my pictures I try to capture small stories that happen around me since day 1. Over time, it has become clear that for me, scenes that take place at night or in bad weather have a greater expressiveness. Therefore, I shoot mostly in the dark and/or in rain, snow or fog.

Wall showing Peter Kalnbach´s art.

Photo: Peter Kalnbach

Please share something about your images. What is your special interest? How do you choose the colors, composition, themes etc.?

I approach each image as if it could be the scene from a movie. The starting point is always at least one of the following three points: An interesting person e.g. with hat, umbrella or coat, an interesting place (preferably industrial, iconic or crude) or an exciting light situation (neon lights, street lamps, advertising signs). Once I have found one of these points, I work out a composition and wait for the right moment. Although the basic colors are predetermined by the scene, the main attention to the colors then takes place for me in the image processing. In the compositions, I work a lot with natural frames or leading lines to draw attention to the person and create depth.

Wall showing Peter Kalnbach´s art.

Photo: Peter Kalnbach

Where does this interest come from?

I've always enjoyed walking through big cities in the dark and have always absorbed a lot of visual stimuli in the process. But for a long time I didn't know how to channel these stimuli. Through photography I have now found the right tool to capture these stimuli and work with them. I can drift through the city for hours, listen to music (I like 90s hip-hop from New York) and take pictures.

Wall showing Peter Kalnbach´s art.

Photo: Peter Kalnbach

What inspires you?

The life and hustle and bustle of big cities, especially New York, and traveling in general. There is always so much to discover here that inspiration is basically constant. That's why country life would be out of the question for me. I need these influences simply to live and of course for my creativity.

Wall showing Peter Kalnbach´s art.

Photo: Peter Kalnbach

How do you get inspired? Films, books, or magazines? Or what surrounds you? 

My inspiration in photography comes from different sources. On the one hand, from other photographers whose work I follow on Instagram, for example. Furthermore, photo books by great photographers like Saul Leiter or Ernst Haas inspire me. Also, neo-noir movies like Taxi Driver, Joker, Bladerunner or Batman are a great source of inspiration for me.

What are your plans for the rest of the day?

Today I have to work a little bit, then I'm going to a new photo exhibition in Hamburg and afterwards I'm going on a photo tour and location scouting with a photographer friend of mine.

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