It’s a regular day in Seoul, Korea. But for one man, every regular day is filled with spectacular moments left unnoticed.
With his camera in hand, Marius Vieth set out on a journey like no other. One that would last him an entire year. He would travel as much as possible, focused solely on whatever lay beyond the lens.
He would take photos of the people he encountered, the cities he entered, and the the streets he walked.
Everyone and everything would serve as his muse and at the very end of it all, he would return to the mundane. His photos would be uninhibited and would explore a mystical surrealism depicting a hypnotic world.
He never imagined that the imagery he captured would completely transform him as a person and change his life forever. But they did.
The images themselves were seemingly unremarkable at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, they proved there wasn’t anything ordinary about them. His pictures were special. Rare gems expertly caught on camera by a talented young photographer who had been carrying on in total darkness, completely unaware of his own extraordinary talent.
He sought out the unexpected from his surroundings and discovered perfection within the imperfect.
The movements, the facial expressions, and the images he carried with him on his road less traveled, taught him to appreciate the beauty in simplicity. No day was the same, each street led him toward a new direction, and every moment was an extraordinary opportunity to witness a magical moment.
Photography chose Marius. What began as a mere hobby transformed his life and earned him 10 awards, which he deems, “unimportant.”
Photography opened his eyes to the beauty in the mundane. The slow smile disguised within the most intense gaze and the brilliant sunshine spilling through the darkest of clouds. Our vision of beauty is distorted, the journey taught him. “Beauty is everywhere, we just have to search for it.”
After all, we cannot change the world. We can only change the way we see it.
I interviewed Marius about his journeying abroad. Read on for a glimpse into the mind of the master:
ATF: What is it about photography that inspires you most?
What inspires me most is just my love for life. That’s my infinite source of inspiration. The camera is just a tool for me to express that. That’s why it’s always embarrassing for me when newcomers ask me about the best equipment and I don’t have a clue about it. I’ve been using the same cam for years. When you love to take photos, you are capturing the zeitgeist– you are capturing life, you are showing the beautiful things that make human existence so amazing. You’re making others happy with your photos and you’re showing them that you can find the extraordinary in everyday life. I couldn’t imagine a life without capturing these moments!
ATF: You weren’t always a photographer. How did the 365 day Project come about?
After two years of taking photos I just couldn’t find anything I truly was passionate about. To be honest, I was about to give up photography at one point because I couldn’t even take portraits on my own. I thought that photography wasn’t meant for me if I couldn’t even find pleasure in one of the most popular fields of photography. On the verge of quitting, I decided to give it one more try with something bigger to inspire myself and others. It was the 365 Project which changed everything for me. At first, I took photos of everything I could find in the city- ranging from architecture to the streets. It was great that way and I felt better about it, but after a while I lacked the fuel to keep me going. I was missing the driving force behind my work. The one thing that fascinated me more than anything else during my photo walks, however, was how incredibly atmospheric everyday life on the streets could be. Sure, it felt weird at first to take photos of random strangers. But soon, capturing real moments instead of planned shots mesmerized me.
From a young age, I always loved to observe people walking around my city’s streets. I never quite understood my fascination. Until the project, that is. I’m happy that I finally found a way to turn this weirdness into something beautiful for me and for others.
ATF: Can you share a store from your journey?
Where to I begin! One of the most surreal moment I experienced happened in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was nighttime and the rain was pouring down hard. Out of nowhere it seemed, jumped this colony of frogs, dancing through the flooded streets. It looked like this awesome plague of biblical proportions. Also, I loved it when people in China saw us Europeans for the first time and we ended up on around 50 family vacations photos, like we were some sort of theme park characters. There are really, so many amazing stories I’ve collected from my travels. Too many to count!
ATF: Which is your favorite photo taken during your trip and why?
One of my absolute favorites is my photo titled, “Retina”. At the cusp of the 365 Project, I tried my best to twist street photography as much as I was able–to explore infinite depths of surrealism. I wanted to create total magic and make people do a double take when looking at a photo. A Danish artist, Olafur Eliasson, arranged some sort of steam installation at the side of a corridor next to a museum in Dusseldorf, Germany. However, the day the installation was actually released it blew too much steam, filling the entire hallway. It may have been a malfunction, but for me it was a gift– the moment I was desperately searching for.