Christoph Fischer is one of the best examples of how a landscape photographer should connect to nature, exploring the immense possibilities of planet Earth, discovering and respecting places where humans are still a minority, and where silence is the common soundtrack.
Moving from America to Africa and Greenland, he shows us a world made of colors and emotions. His photos are full of positive energy and full of wide emotions.
Visit his website beautysurroundsyou.com and his Instagram account www.instagram.com/christophfischerphoto to admire his beautiful photos.
You are one of the most innovative landscape photographers on the scene. How did you decide to start this career?
Thank you very much for your very kind words, I appreciate them greatly! I am one of those photographers who changed their career to follow their passion. I trained as a scientist and worked at Washington State University in the United States, located in the middle of the beautiful Palouse area, which rightly is called America's answer to Tuscany. I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, a huge city, where it can take more than one hour to reach relatively untouched natural environments. When I arrived in the Palouse, I found myself surrounded by natural beauty. It took me only 15 minutes to find myself in the middle of Idaho's beautiful forests, and even less to go on a drive through the Palouse's gently undulating wheat fields. I always loved nature, but it was in the Palouse that I realized how deep that love was. Nature affects me not only through its visual beauty; for me nature is a spiritual experience, it is where I feel a deep inner peace. I always had an urge to capture beautiful scenery, since I was a child, with my first point and shoot camera. In the Palouse I began to look more seriously at photography, and it was there that I decided to pursue the path to become a professional photographer. I moved to Canada, where I continued to work as a scientist in the private sector, and I spent all my free time learning and improving my photography. It took me a long time, but 6 years after I purchased my first DSLR, I went professional.
How much do you travel in your job?
I am away from home for about 5 months a year, during which time I run my international and Canadian photography workshops.
We read that you keep a lot of workshops. How do you structure a workshop?
My workshops are all about providing my participants with the most effective learning and enriching travel experience possible. I keep my workshop groups small, so that I can give everyone as much personal attention as possible. It is all about engaging with the participant, so that they know I am there for them, and they never have to have feel uncomfortable approaching me. At the same time, it is also important to give space, if that is what the participant prefers. I also am fully involved in all aspects of the logistics of the workshops, to ensure that everything runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Finally, I do not offer workshops in locations I am not passionate and excited about. If you are not passionate about the location you take your participants to, it will show, and it will greatly detract from their experience. I love providing my participants with truly memorable, meaningful experiences, and I always am very excited to explore with them the locations we visit.
Which photographer influenced you the most?
There are many fantastic photographers who influenced me, but the photographers who come to mind for their unique creative vision are Sandra Bartocha (https://www.bartocha-photography.com, Bruce Percy (https://www.brucepercy.co.uk), and Richard Martin (http://www.richardmartinphoto.com) . I want to emphasize that there are many truly great photographers, so these 3 photographers are by no means my only inspiration.
As a photographer, I think that there are moments when shooting photos fill us with incredible energy. Which of your photos gave you more adrenaline?
There have been so many occasions where I have been blown away by the beauty I witnessed. If I had to choose some highlights, one of them was in Argentinian Patagonia, when the Fitz Roy Mountain range, initially hidden behind a wall of clouds, suddenly emerged from the clouds as the famous Patagonian winds picked up. It was truly breathtaking, and it happened so quickly!
Another moment was in Namibia's world famous Dead Vlei, which is where the world famous dead trees, situated among giant dunes, are located. It was a windy, dusty morning, generally not ideal conditions. We were photographing a particularly nice arrangement of trees, when the winds picked up and blew up the sand and dust from the white clay pan and across the trees.
It was truly spectacular, with the stark, defined shapes of the trees, emerging from behind the dust. It comes to show once again that there always is potential for special moments, no matter how bad the conditions may seem.
You and the Nature. It looks like you are always searching for the most empty places. Are your travels more similar to modern explorations?
I love exploring. To find myself in a true wilderness, where there is no sign or trace of human activity, is a spiritual experience. I wouldn't say that I routinely visit truly remote areas, which only very few people have ever seen, but I sure would love to! The most remote area I have visited, and which I still visit with my workshop groups, is Greenland's Scoresby Sund, a breathtakingly beautiful wilderness for which there are no words. I would love to explore more of Greenland's truly remote parts, and of the rest of the world!
Can photography change the world?
It most certainly can! Just think of all the poignant photographs which have drawn the world's attention to issues such as war, droughts and starvation and, recently, Europe's migration crisis. And don't forget all the impactful images which portray the climate crisis. But photography does not need to be about negative subject matters. Evocative images which portray the beauty of our natural world make the viewer realize how precious it is, that it needs to be protected.
You are doing one of the most interesting jobs in the world. Do you feel privileged? It was hard to stand out the concurrence?
Yes, I do feel privileged, and this has become especially clear during the pandemic. In normal times I am very busy travelling, from one amazing location to the next. It all became a blur. I knew I was visiting beautiful locations, but it was difficult to absorb and appreciate, as my life was a nonstop whirlwind of activity. The pandemic gave me the opportunity to look back on it all, to remember the locations I had the fortune of visiting with my photography groups. I truly can't wait to return to these amazing wildernesses and share them with my participants. That being said, professional photography, especially nature photography, is an extremely competitive and difficult area in which to make a living. One has to work very hard, considerably more than a normal job would require.
What would you suggest to photographers that would like to become pro?
Professional photography is a very challenging, highly competitive area in which to make a living. You need to be truly passionate about photography, persistent, resilient, and be prepared to work very hard. There are much easier, and stable, ways to make a living! If you decide to go ahead and pursue professional photography, my suggestion would be that you keep your current employment until you see clear signs of a sustainable income which can support you. This is a bit of a catch-22 situation, since often you would need to work full time to generate such an income. It is also very important that you test and explore which area will generate an income for you. Professional nature photographers have a number of sources of income to choose from, and these vary from photographer to photographer. Some make most of their income from running photography workshops, others from photography assignments, or selling books and prints, and many photographers make their income from a combination of sources. You will save yourself a lot of time, lost income and wasted effort, by eliminating those areas which do not generate income for you, before you turn professional!