photographer who tends to shoot sports. One of my mobile phone pictures I took one year ago in my spare time has even been published by an online publication. So there is not always the need for full frame DSLR quality. In some photography genres, kit is not the most important. They can tell their stories with just one lens and a body, but for a press photographer it’s a bit more complex. What is your essential kit for a day at work? The agency lends me three full frame camera bodies, a 16-35mm, a 24-70mm, a 70-200mm and a 400mm lens plus an on-camera flash. Two of the bodies and all the lenses (except for the 400mm) I usually carry with me. I would prefer to work with only one lens, but as a Keystone photographer we shoot for around 80 customers and they expect a variation of styles - close-cut/loose cut, wide-angle/tele, backlight/no backlight etc. This is needed to meet each customers individual visual identity and brief. Your assignments must vary dramatically - what has been your favourite job to date? Flying around Matterhorn mountain photographing 40 alpinists on the summit out of a helicopter was quite cool. But not every assignment is fun and nice. The next day I had to photograph an airplane crash, where four people got injured. You’ve seen your work in publications across the world including The New York Times. To you, what’s your biggest achievement in photography? Switzerland is a small country and Keystone a small agency compared to global players. Despite this and thanks to contracts to partner agencies like European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) and Associated Press (AP) I’ve got publications around the world. Keystone is
also an agency where the photographers are at least as important as their shareholders. This gives a good work-atmosphere and not only profit-oriented behaviour. What are your aims and dreams for the future? Getting a contract as staff photographer for a news photo agency or a national paper would be amazing. But nowadays as a young shooter, it’s pretty much impossible. I do also enjoy working as freelancer but having the support of experienced editors and administration staff gives you more time to really concentrate on photography. I’m also very interested in developing my skills in the direction of editorial portrait photography. I don’t want to be the guy who will shoot the same thing for the rest of his life. I need variation, which is exactly what I get a lot of during my current internship. For recent graduates or photographers looking to get into the Press Photography industry what advice would you have for them? Keep on shooting what you are passionate about, for me it is freeski and snowboard photography. Also get up and shoot your beloved genre – even if you feel bad or the weather is miserable. That’s how you would work as a staff photographer. Use social networks and speak about what you’ve done but don’t post crappy holiday pictures or shots of your cat. You should use social networks as a promoting tool of your abilities as photographer. Post only your good work or create a second account for pets & selfies. It sometimes helps to sleep over an edit. The day after a shoot you will be able to think more objectively about your work. And: less is more!
Interview: Tom Sandberg Photographs: KEYSTONE/Dominic Steinmann
Feature - Real Talk with Dominic Steinmann 13.