samuel zeller photography interview

Glasshouses, buildings, roads: not necessarily things that you’d think of as beautiful. But through shutterbug Samuel Zeller’s lens, just about everything comes up looking rather swish. We had a chat to the Swiss mister to find out how he gets his gorgeous snaps.

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What is your name and how old are you? My name is Samuel Zeller and I’m 25 years old.

Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and that’s where I live now.

What kind of subjects interest you most? The seemingly less interesting ones – the corner of a building, the industrial areas, those things we see but don’t look at closely. I’ve always paid attention to my surroundings, and find more and more interest in finding beauty everywhere.

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What do you shoot on (digital or analogue) and why do you choose to use that type? I shoot digital. My first camera was a Fujifilm X100 and now I have a Fujifilm X-T1. I didn’t choose that – I just never used an analogue camera (but I want to).

What kinds of ideas are you working on at the moment? I’m expanding my Botanical series to other greenhouses in Europe in order to do a book and an exhibition on that theme. I’m also working on a series about buildings in construction.

When it comes to taking photos, do you have more of a controlled/set-up or spontaneous style? A little bit of both. When I’m on vacation, I usually just take photos of what I see without any real purpose. But when I work on a series it’s usually way more controlled.

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If you were to teach a photography appreciation class, what kind of lessons would you try to teach your students? Visit museums and go to exhibitions. Appreciate art. Photography is technical, but it’s mostly based on your own perception and most people don’t train their eyes enough.

What advice can you offer on finding your personal style or aesthetic? There’s no secret. It takes time. A lot of time and practice. Your style is the sum of all the things you know, the things you’ve seen and the photographs you’ve taken. Some will find their aesthetic after a year. For others, it will take ten – but it will come.

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What other photographers do you love? Sebastiao Salgado. I love his entire body of work. I also really enjoy the eye of Greg White, an industrial photographer.

What do you enjoy doing when not taking photos? I like riding my bike in the countryside. When you’re riding, you can only focus on one thing – the road in front of you. It feels good. I also do bouldering (rock climbing without ropes or harnesses).

Where can we see more of your work? On my website samuelzeller.ch, but also on my instagram @zellersamuel, where I post more regularly.

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