Susanne Stemmer is a fashion photographer based in Vienna, she is specialized in underwater photography. Her great experience spans from commercials, fashion photography to kids photography, in this interview she shares with us her last project and an unexpected, but extremely valuable source of inspiration.
W: Can you recall how and why you became a photographer?
S: Growing up in a family of serious people doing serious jobs, like working in a bank and as tax consultants and stuff – it just took me a while to really start doing what I love…spent many years travelling – finally ended up as a photographer on a cruise ship…and that was it: I had found my passion. …and my way to express myself and tell people the stories I see and feel. – Went to settle down in Vienna for a while and worked as an assistant for a few years (actually more a slave than an assistant ;)) – until I just felt the urge to work on my own. –
W: Photography is like writing with the light, which stories do you want to tell with your projects?
S: Every project tells its own story – in my now running exhibition cycle UNDER WATER, I want to tell my viewers that it‘s actually not such an effort to let go of some things they think are important… immerse with me and let go of the mask you think you have to wear in society, let go of all the stuff that drags you down, abandon your image…and if it‘s just for a little moment…. – come into my world and be free.
W: Can you share with us 3 tips to make a good photo under the water?
S: ..first: it helps if you love water and diving 🙂 – second: shoot a lot, try out everything you can..and find your way and style. – third: never give up. never.
W: What part of the process excites you the most when you start a new project?
S: Guess, it‘s the whole project itself: building up a story…and keep forming it while I‘m shooting…I work a lot in commercial photography as well – I just love doing both: building a story around a brand, inventing its visual language…and then go back to my personal work and invent stories for my characters.
W: Which fashion magazine do you love the most and why?
S: loved, schön!, french, numero – and of course italian and french VOGUE.
W: From all your projects which is your favorite and why?
S: …it‘s always the one I‘m currently working at…as soon as it‘s done, it‘s really not that interesting for me any more 🙂 – at the moment, I love working on my exhibition series.
W: Which books and blogs do you consider valuable for a fashion photographer?
S: Of course it‘s important to always be up do date and see what the world around you is shooting and doing…but actually I don‘t get my inspiration from blogs or magazines or photography exhibitions… – what really inspires me are the old gits 😉 – I can spend hours and hours in the Louvre and Musée d‘Orsay, the Tretjakov Gallery just kills me, there‘s a fantastic Velázquez exhibition in Vienna at the moment… – that‘s what inspires me, old paintings that take us into a completely different world. Same with books: my heroes are writers taking us with them in a world we didn‘t know before: Dostojewski, Tolstoi, Murakami (to also mention a modern one), Balzac, Flaubert…. But then, that‘s me.. – I guess, everyone has to find his or her own way, her own inspiration source.
UNDER WATER – EXHIBITION – info text
Specialised in underwater photography, the artist Susanne Stemmer examines the changes that human beings experience after their immersion through the surface. The characters illustrated in her works are free and boundless as soon as they immerse. A physical freedom with the imaginary loss of gravity as well as mental freedom, abandoning their image they have in society, having the feeling nobody is watching them – finally being able to release themselves from all conventions and drop the mask they are wearing in society.
An inner journey begins into a world we rediscover ourselves, an invented world, photographed and still resembling to be an imaginary painting.