Having a rough day? Just chill out and relax while watching these hypnotising pictures and feel an immediate inner peace flowing over yourself. That’s just the effect Stefano Gardel has with his new series ‘Swiss Bliss’. No need to go to a therapist anymore …
Impressive. Not only for someone who’s only in the business for 1 and ½ years but just for someone who’s doing photography in general. There’s nothing that can hold him back! Talking about that, there once was this time his back was injured really badly yet he made the decision to go on an 8 hrs hike, just to shoot.
❝ My back hurt like hell but I was so focused on my work that it seemed almost irrelevant. Up there the conditions were so perfect for what I wanted to shoot that anything else did not matter. I literally entered a parallel state of mind ❞
Clearly, he’s also very persistent. Maybe that’s the thing that distinguishes him from the others and got him where he is right now. Good job!
Can you tell me a little bit more about this project?
'Swiss Bliss' was shot between Engadina and Ticino in Switzerland early June of last year. I chose to take most of these pictures at dusk because of the magic that exists during that short window of time ...you have 45 minutes to 1 hour where the mist plays with the dormant landscape, while the slow and soft appearance of daylight creates what I felt to be like bliss ...
Tell us an attribute a good photographer must have and why?
Even though I understand where this question is coming from, I hate definitions. We don't need definitions, actually we have to turn 180 degrees and go completely in the other direction. Why? Because when we define things we kill them. It's like cutting a rose and then putting it into a vase. Soon after it's going to die. And the same goes for ideas ... if you reason too much around an idea it is going to die or lose its impact. That's because everything finds its nourishment from what is not seen or not understood. I prefer to leave things open, to respect that part that only can be grasped by intuition. It's a sensation, something that cannot be defined but it's there, that's what a good photographer must include in his pictures.
What does it mean to you “being a photographer”? And which is the most challenging part of it?
Photography is very recent for me. I started one year and a half ago and unexpectedly it became a profession, with art galleries becoming interested in promoting and selling my work. To be honest I don't feel to be a " photographer”, I see photography as a medium to express my creativity. It helped me in a difficult time of my life and it still does, it's like therapy. I don't photograph with the intention of documenting reality, but more as an interpretation of reality, therefore it is more to the art aspect of photography that I'm interested in. I think in my pictures the message tends to be abstract and symbolic, trying to evoke a sensation, a state of perception. My "real" job is as a chiropractor, which I do part time now, so being a photographer is really not challenging at all, no deadlines, no commercial work ... I just do what inspires me.
Are you more a nature person or a city person?
None of the two or both, I seek and get tired of both. I think contrast is important to keep things alive, especially creativity. But small cities as a base to live are my favorite, because you get a little bit of both … nature and city.
What do you like/dislike about traveling? And how does it inspire you as a photographer?
All of my inspiration comes first as a mood, a sensation that is yet to be defined, and then it starts to take shape by wondering where in the world I can find that mood, what city, what country, what light … It may take some time, and then I plan the actual trip. I love everything about traveling, I love airports, getting to new places and cultures, meeting new people, getting lost … sometimes it gets a little lonely but I’m introspective by nature and I like being by myself.
Where are you based and where’s your next trip to?
I’m based in Lugano, Switzerland, a small city by the lake and surrounded by nature, I grew up here and all my friends and family are here. As I write this interview I’m in Lodz, Poland. I’m here to make long exposure photographs at night of the remnants of the second world war Jewish ghetto, which surprisingly is almost entirely intact and inhabited. I chose this location not so much because of his history, but because of the extremely oppressive mood these buildings suggest. I’m looking to create a set of images that depict how the remnants of that oppression and fear is still palpable, especially in the silence and desolation of the night
What’s your guilty pleasure?