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Fabian Stuertz is a freelance photographer from Cologne, Germany. The 28-year-old just discovered Talenthouse and has already hit the mark. His photography impressed Roger Waters of Pink Floyd with his photo of Charles Bradley, winning the Invite. Following his victory, Fabian was flown to New York to photograph Roger Waters live at his epic concert – The Wall Live.
TH: Fabian, how’d the picture come off?
Fabian: It could have been a portrait shooting, but it was at a concert that a friend of mine organized. Charles Bradley was his first time out of the States, and he was sitting over there, waiting for the sound check. He didn’t even have an album, he was just on tour with other musicians. There he was, and there was my chance. It’s one of my favorite pictures, it is hanging on the wall in my apartment. The evening was so amazing! Charles Bradley came off the stage after it, I applauded him, and he just hugged me. Afterwards, he was standing in the room, crying, because 400 people took a day in lieu of him. That was like a time machine for me, it could have happened 30 or 40 years ago, on a original soul concert.
TH: Sounds like an exhilarating evening.
Fabian: I am lucky to be in Cologne. I am networked very well, some of my friends organize concerts like the one with Charles Bradley. I was there at 4pm, I took pictures of the sound check. We moved the banks, then the concert started. I worked there without a specific mission. I also remember the last picture of he night: It was the night of the Super Bowl, and we went with the band into the hotel to watch the Super Bowl. The last picture shows 20 cropped packages of burgers and beer bottles all over the hotel lobby, and in the background everybody is watching Super Bowl.
TH: Is your everyday life always that exciting?
Fabian: On the one hand, I take a lot of pictures of actors, very young people, because I am well known in this scene. I do a lot of portrait stuff for them. On the other hand, I work for agencies or musicians. Lately I did a documentary photo series for adidas about the champions league finale in Munich. Even Warner Music has called me to take pictures of a band on a live concert. They did a live CD and DVD with my pictures, with cover, artwork and booklet. And finally there are some events where I take pictures for Veltins or Porsche, just to give some examples. They are good costumers, but I cannot sell them art.
TH: Like your masterpiece of Charles Bradley?
Fabian: I like the picture of Charles Bradley because of its mood and style. It’s timeless. I like the image in general: It’s clearly split, in lines, horizontal and vertical, it doesn’t slope. It was just perfect. I was sitting opposite to him, and I think I only took one photo. If you look very closely, it’s not in perfect focus, but I don’t think it hurts.
TH: That’s right. Is that the reason you chose this picture for the contest?
Fabian: After I heard from this contest, I did a survey on Facebook, asking my friends which picture they like most. The cool fact: Half of the people prescinded the picture of Charles Bradley. I thought about the fact that a lot of people will submit something big. I also have pictures of concerts with the dome of Cologne in the background, with rain, with the stage, with the shadow of the audience. And during the voting, I saw all these pictures, of the Cirque du Soleil and of really big artists. I thought: New York, that would be great, and now a new film about Charles Bradley is coming out. But to win, I couldn’t imagine that. All the more I am happy that my picture was chosen.
TH: Could you tell us how you discovered photography?
Fabian: I started with a small digital camera 8 years ago. I took pictures of architecture, streets and urbane stuff. Some day, A friend of mine came to me and said: I need portrait photos, do it for me. That was the first time I took a photo of a human – and I still like these pictures. It was the time when I realized that it’s not hard for me to do that. And after it, it was a step by step, just like this.
TH: You are a natural, I see. Do you have some tips for aspiring photographers who want to make more of their talent?
Fabian: I just went for it. When taking pictures you should just do it for yourself and capture what you like. Don’t try to follow others and copy what others do. You should also accept challenges and learn what you like to do. You don’t have to be a master in everything. There are so many people out there who think that they can do everything. Be glad to be able to do one thing and concentrate on this one – try things out. That’s the beauty of it.
To read this article’s original German language version, click here.
Congratulations, Fabian! We’re excited to see your pictures from New York.
- Visit Fabian Stuertz’s Talenthouse Portfolio.