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Taste, sense and dreams with Stefan Dotter

Michael Ballhaus once said ‘For me behind the camera, it was an act of love’, and same applies to Stefan Dotter.

If any­thing, the works of his might be best described as roman­tic, dreamy and calm­ing. Whether he marks a moment of sheer spon­ta­neous or staged act, there will always be that trace of inti­ma­cy and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty in all his pho­tog­ra­phy — that prob­a­bly might have to do a lot with a fact that he as a per­son is exact­ly like his pho­tog­ra­phy. Ste­fan is tread­ing a fine line between keep­ing things pri­vate yet pub­lic at the same time, and with a new exhi­bi­tion com­ing up (Ste­fan will par­tic­i­pate in a group show called: For­get Fear, open­ing 16th of Decem­ber 2016 at Vernissage, Berlin), now was the per­fect time to sit down with him and talk taste, sense, and dreams.

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Why pho­tog­ra­phy?
I feel like we are all search­ing for answers in life. Some find it in reli­gion or phi­los­o­phy, through their work , drugs, what­ev­er — you name it. Pho­tog­ra­phy is my medi­um of explor­ing the unde­fin­able vari­ables of beau­ty, nature and rela­tion­ships. I have a whole lot of rea­sons in my head right now but ulti­mate­ly it’s maybe my way of avoid­ing to cope with real­i­ty too much.

You come from a fam­i­ly of archi­tects, how come you are not one?
Being a pho­tog­ra­ph­er is my late teenage rebellion.

How do your par­ents feel about the work you do?
My moth­er gets upset when she sees female nudi­ty in my pic­tures. Apart from that she show­cas­es me as a poster child. She’s the cutest. They are both very proud of me and that gives me the most.

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What did you want to be grow­ing up?
An archi­tect, duh. There was a time in my life where I want­ed to play the game of mon­ey at Wall Street so I stud­ied busi­ness. The pur­chase of my first cam­era saved me from that sad world and gave me back a sense of humanity.

You do so much dif­fer­ent work… You are a pub­lish­er and Edi­tor-in-Chief of Whitelies mag­a­zine, you paint, you write, you take pho­tographs… Do you do all that stuff just to fill up your time so you don’t have any time left for think­ing?
No. I take my time for think­ing. It’s rather that I use it to avoid wast­ing my time in social sit­u­a­tions where I feel uncom­fort­able. It’s 11pm on a fri­day right now and I had to” bail out from a bar night to answer this interview.

What do you fear most?
Becom­ing emo­tion­al­ly numb. Or blind.

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Do you think the per­fect pic­ture’ exists?
Not any­more. When I start­ed out, per­fec­tion was ulti­mate­ly what I was chas­ing all the time. I con­sid­er myself a retired per­fec­tion­ist now.

Who, in your opin­ion, did come clos­est to per­fec­tion?
Richard Ave­don.

Where do you find beau­ty?
In women mainly….

How do you decide what is worth pho­tograph­ing and what is a waste?
If the space between the scene/​subject and me isn’t fill­ing up with some sort of emo­tion­al ener­gy I don’t press the shutter.

Are you impul­sive while tak­ing pho­tos or do you wait for the right moment?
Depends. When I’m doc­u­ment­ing I make myself invis­i­ble and cap­ture the right moments, ide­al­ly when my sub­ject isn’t aware of being pho­tographed. Invis­i­bil­i­ty is a pow­er­ful tool.

Who are some of your heroes?
Jamie Hawkesworth is pret­ty cool. Oh and my men­tor Sebran D’Argent.

What was the last book you read?
Free­dom from the known” by Jid­du Krish­na­mur­ti, a new per­spec­tive on the spir­i­tu­al approach told through the life­work of the author.

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What is on your list for 2017?
Mak­ing pho­tog­ra­phy great again.

Last song you lis­tened to?
This very moment I’m lis­ten­ing to The Van­ish­ing Amer­i­can Fam­i­ly” by ScubaZ.

Do you dream dur­ing the day or night?
Always- I can’t tell the dif­fer­ence some­times. Real­i­ty is mere­ly an illu­sion any­way, albeit a very per­sis­tent one. Some­times we live in a night­mare, from which I wake in sleep from time to time.

Your favorite taste?

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Smell that reminds you of your child­hood?
The typ­i­cal Rudolf Stein­er kinder­gar­den smell.

Did you have imag­i­nary friends grow­ing up?
Although I was a lon­er I nev­er pro­ject­ed my split per­son­al­i­ty to the out­side I guess.

Do you think soli­tude is bliss?
Absolute­ly. It’s painful in youth, but gets deli­cious in the years of maturity.

12 Dec 2016 · neubau eyewear