Hi Stefan, Welcome to 121 Clicks. Please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in Photography?
I am a Professional Artistic Photographer, living in South Germany at the Lake of Constance, close to the border of Austria and Switzerland. I started with photography at the age of 14 years, stealing / borrowing my father’s Edixa SLR camera and his b&w films to take a picture story with my girl friends.
How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of feel do you try and create in your photos?
My vision is to create emotive images that encourage viewer’s feelings. There is a lot of fantasy in my images, lightly sprinkled with humor. Of course, I want to activate emotions generating a faster heart beat. Lean back, relax and allow letting one’s imagination run wild!
Most of your Photos are like Portraits. How do you define Portrait Photography?
For me there is no difference between portraits. My models act and behave like they are dressed. Of course, there is artistic posing but never that typical pinup / glamor style.
Nature has a strong presence in a lot of work, for example you have many portraits taken outside. What role does nature play in your photography?
Nature is a very important part in my images. It’s the stage to showcase my models. As I am surrounded with a lot of beautiful places in my homeland like the Alps, rivers, canyons and lakes I always love roaming this places. It suggests itself to combine imagination, models and nature where I am living my studio and indoor work just bridge the time gap of winter times.
When you get an idea in your head for a photo, how do go about getting that shot?
I am inspired by multiple ways. Some of my pet subjects are Fairy Tales, Romances and Myths in Books, audio books and movies. These themes are a big playground for my imagery. Sometimes I get the idea when I have discovered a new place or a special prop.
After getting the idea it could take years till this thoughts are transformed into images. I return several times to possible shooting locations to check the light at different day times and seasons. Sometimes a special location only works with a specific model / character. Places in nature change over the years what makes it even trickier. So, it’s a quite complicated process.
Can you please describe the process behind your photograph, which are Concept, Location, Capture and Post Processing?
I am working with a script book where all my ideas are written down. Step by step these ideas are extended with possible locations, environmental conditions, accessibility, lighting conditions, best weather / season conditions, props, model character. Compared with the pre-production effort the “capture” is straightforward, you only have to wait until all variables fit together . Post-Processing is another (time wasting) part in my imagery. Controlling colors, contrast, deep dimension of shadows and bright light areas, …. eeeeeek, a lot of digital stuff to go through for the final image.
You’ve published many Books and Coffee Table Booklets. What response have you had and what is most important to you when it comes to your prints?
I started publishing my own books several years ago. As they are printed on demand the books are, compared to book traders, quite expensive. That is my publisher earns the main part of the costs of my books. Anyway there are lots of people from all over the world like Japan, Australia, USA and Europe collects my publications. The print quality of my books is excellent, all my customers had been very happy with their purchase. (Okay, caught, this was a subliminal advertising *hehe*)
Selling prints is a small business for me. I do understand that a “digital copy” of an 80 MB file isn’t that what collectors are looking for. A handmade b&w prints in the dark room could activate this segment. That is you have to “go back” to film cameras and all the analog stuff you have to handle.
When you doing commercial assignment, how much you involved in Makeup and Styling?
Makeup and Styling is reduced to a minimalistic level concentrated on a well-tended, natural look of my models.
You have exhibited your work? If yes, where and what is the response from people?
The main body of my work is displayed on the internet. Photography is a quite subjective form of expression. A lot of people like my work because it’s different to the main stream of photography. But there will always be people asking for more explicit content, gynecologic shoots like details or close ups
What are your favorite subjects in photography other than Beauty Portraits?
Thought my photography is offering a wide range of themes in the segment of female photography like artistic, simple, soft, stage-manage, indoor- /outdoor-shoots, and so on. I never took photographs of male, that’s definitely NOT my theme
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any new projects on the go at the moment, or anything that you’re planning to do?
I am working on several new book publications, some displaying a totally different style of imagery than most of the people are used to my photography. As for most of my print publications it’s a process that takes a couple of years to complete them.
What cameras / lenses do you use and why?
I am shooting with a canon EOS 1Ds Mark III DSLR Camera. My lenses are 24-70 L USM 2.8, 70-200 L IS USM 2.8, 85 L 1.2. I am working with Canon cameras because canon has been the first company that launched a camera (1ds mk II) whose digital sensor produced a serious quality compared with medium format film cameras.
What is the best compliment do you have ever? Could you please share Happiest Moment in your Photography Life?
One of the best compliments for me is to make peoples live a bit brighter when they see my images. Most happy moments for me are when my ideas / imagination transform as close as possible into pictures, when virtual thoughts are fixed into pixels ^^
If you could go on assignment anywhere in the world to shoot whatever you wanted; where and what would it be, and why?
One of my dreams is to shoot with my models on Iceland or the Lofoten area in Norway. The landscapes in these countries are just amazing. Weather conditions and temperature are devilish hard in this polar circle regions but, …. omg, the light is marvelous there.
A photography website or blog you visit often?
www.communityzoe.com is a great place to meet fine art photographers. It’s mainly provided by North American photographers. For me and my European mentality it’s always pulsating to come back.
Thanks again for providing 121 Clicks with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thanks for your time reading this interview, stay tuned and frequently check my website for updates and new publications.
You can find Stefan on the Web:
Website : www.stefansoell.de