Featured photographer #59: Stephan Brunner
Hello! My name is Stephan and I live and work with my family in Switzerland. I'm doing pastoral work in a parish and a prison. Photography is a passion which accompanies me since many years and is part of my everyday life.
What did you want to become in your childhood and are you that person today?
In my childhood I wanted to be an explorer of unknown territories. Reading books about ancient times, studying maps of the world...
Well, working with people, especially with inmates in a prison can lead one definitely unto unknown ground…
What do you do when you don’t have a camera in your hand?
I love to write and journal a lot, sometimes I do watercolors and love to spend time in the woods. Drawing and describing a location is a different thing than taking pictures, but leads also to an intimate knowledge of a spot. Also reading novels and especially poetry brings me to an new view of the world and the people around me.
What do you want to achieve?
More and more I try to make pictures which are telling little stories or are evoking personal feelings. I try to reduce scenes and find the one single spot where this can happen.
Where did you meet photography or where did photography meet you?
I still remember my father with his Zeiss Contaflex and some macro lenses. He loved it to do close-ups of flowers and took also a lot of pictues. My first real camera was a Minolta x500. I always was a visual guy, loving colors and light in different shades. Later I worked with 35mm, medium format and large format and started to look more and more to photobooks to learn more about the art.
What are your superpowers and weakness (and how do you overcome them)?
Hm. I think I can very well accomodate to different locations, situations and get easily in contact with people. I cannot deny a little gear acquisition syndrom, but I
mworking on it…
Where do you think the wisdom and instinct for a good photograph comes from?
I think it comes out of curiosity and an open mindset. Beeing sensitive for situations, the light and colors, structures and so on.
The craziest thing you ever did as a photographer? Have you ever got yourself in trouble?
Maybe it was not that appropriate to take pictures with a flash in a completely dark hut of a nomad tribe in Ethiopia while a coffeeceremony...
How often do you / don’t you shoot?
Almost daily, I think. To start the day will a little still life on my desk became almost a ritual in the morning. I try to keep an camera with me as often as possible, there are so many interesting situations around, even in the familiar surroundings.
If you could carry only 4 pieces of equipment to a parallel universe (no photo equipment on the other side) for a year, what would you choose?
My Leica MP with rolls of film, a fine notebook and fountain pen, a small but powerful lightmeter (any suggestions?), and my old African enamel mug for coffee.
When do you rely on your instruments and when on your feelings?
My main focus is on feelings and telling little stories, so I rely more on my feelings than on an instrument. For still lives I try to arrange the items in an eyepleasing, somehow open and natural way. But I need a tool that fits my needs. But I do not like when technic gets between me and my photograph.
If you could give one final advice / task / riddle to your fellow photographers, what would it be?
I'm better off taking advice than giving...
Your top 4 current photographers?
Sam Abell - His patience and compositions are amazing.
David Allen Harvey - vivid an colorful.
Raymond Depardon - into the great wide open...
Lorenzo Castatore - his "Paradiso" is a completly different view on life.
Let me mention also Eugene Smith for his dedication to the art and craft.
Links or anything else you would like to share!
Thank you to the LUMU Team for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and photographs and for your versatile little lightmeter. And thank you, dear reader, for reading this. If you are interested in my pictures, take a look at my Instagram @stephanmbrunner