Should we keep presenting the German photographer Stephan Zirwes? One of the pioneers of aerial photography agreed to take some of his precious time to answer our questions. Between environmental and social reflections and attractive aestheticism, his many projects do not leave us indifferent.
Which path led you to become a photographer?
Maybe everything started with my father’s Super 8mm films! Through my whole childhood, in the early 70´s, he made films of our holidays up to 70min length. So I grew up with filmstrips hanging around, with the smell of the glue everywhere. I made my first film in 1980 and later in school, we had a black and white laboratory, and I started photography, developing my films and making prints. Since I am 16, photography became more and more important to me.
One of your main subjects is nature and the people’s impact on the environment. Do you want to make the public fully aware of the global warming various issues through your work?
Yes. But there are many aspects, and global warming is only one. It’s often highlighting more the absurd transactions and activities of humans: opening golf yards in the middle of the desert in Las Vegas for example. This kind of absurdity fascinates me.
What else inspires you to create?
I don’t know if this is the right formulation but «the beauty of the transience» of things which are only existing for the moment. To me, in all things and situations, there is a beauty of life – of being – even if it is for a short moment. And what inspires me? Simplicity. Human beings’ variety. The moment right now is the most important.
You are probably today one of the most renowned aerial photographers. Why did you choose this particular way of immortalizing the world?
I am always looking on new ways to see the world. It all started with my Polaroid and panoramics I shot in the middle of the 90´s. Later, I’ve made multi-pictures shots with films; it’s a picture made with 500 single shots.
Then, in 2004, I began to shoot in a charter helicopter to get an entirely new perspective.
I’ve read that you rarely retouch your pictures…
Yes, most of them are raw and not retouched. Maybe because I am lazy, maybe because it should be like this. I show what I saw because I prefer shooting the realness than «creating» a picture.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
For now, my ongoing covered glacier project and a series about absurd architecture in Iceland soon.
More of his work on Instagram.