Dazed Digital


Detlef Schneider

November 28, 2012

From film to fashion, sport and photography, the German talent reveals the inspiration behind his spreads

  • Text by Christine Bierhals

Detlef Schneider is a hometown hero, an internationally respected Munich fashion photographer and filmmaker whose film background has established Schneider's signature style and eye, one that has seen him shoot for GQ, adidas and Nike. We talk creative inspiration and his career path. 

Satellite Voices: Can you remember the first picture you ever took?
Detlef Schneider: Unfortunately not. It was more the first role of film I exposed with my plastic camera when I was about 12-years-old, a snapshot of my brother entering the door, his Vespa, my BMX bike or me in the mirror with a flash on. Later it was for documenting graffiti pieces friends and I did. Taking pictures of each other posing in front of the wall was more fun than anything else. The graffities where not so spectacular, I must say.

SV: Can you tell us about your last projects?
DS: It´s always a mix of commercial work and editorials, I try to keep the balance. The last fun editorial was for Clash Magazine I produced in London. Then I shot a Mustang Jeans campaign in east London on the streets. Furthermore, I had another shoot with tennis players in NYC and Munich, where we also made a little film clip with the leading French tennis player Jo Wilfried Tsonga - both for adidas.

SV: There are a lot of fashion photographers coming up now through film. How did you come up with thru genre?
DS: In the beginning, right after my photography apprenticeship, I started to work in the film industry. I wanted to see more besides photography, so I worked in different fields from lighting to directing. While building up my photographic portfolio, I set up a little black and white dark room and started to experiment with a Super 8 camera. I started doing my first trips to New York as a photographer, while still earning money in film, and at some point photography took over and I stayed there. This was before digital photography started to take over and it was an important time for me, on how to approach my creative job.

These days now, being based in Europe, Munich, are when things are just coming together being able to set up and work big sets, or to improvise just with a camera in my hands. Technology is much more accessible now, the film industry was getting digitalised like photography some years ago.

SV: What's your last film project about?
DS: It’s a fashion clip for Arena Homme +, with the Y3-line of adidas designed by Yoshi Yamamoto. Max Clark of Arena did the fashion for it.

SV: What is special about it? Can you describe your own handwriting in the matter of film?
DS: It is a perfect blend of fashion and sports. Since I wanted to capture movements in slow-motion while showing fashion, it feels right to me, something I still can look at in view years time, at the end finding the right song to give the clip the right speed and vibe, I also got great support by the reknown DJ Muallem, who found the right track by Henric Schwarz.

SV: How would you describe your photographic and filmic artwork? is there a certain style or is it quiet different?
DS: Photography sometimes feels like a hunt for the moment, film to me feels more like creating a rhythm with images. Film is a good refreshment, I love doing it, since I´ve also found an amazing team of artists to work with. Filming through a photographers eye can have an different approach, I think it shows in the clip.

SV: Where did you produce it?
DS: It was self-produced and filmed in a studio in Munich. Parts of the team and artists flew in from London.

SV: Why are you - as an international renowned photographer - based in Munich and not in the States where you work a lot?
DS: That’s how things happened. I lived in New York and established a good network there. I have an agent in London, have international clients which keeps me moving and I keep moving and try to work with people who have similar perspectives and interests.

SV: What does your hometown Munich mean to you?
DS: It’s a good base but I do need to get out regularly. It is a relaxed and beautiful city, not overwhelming, big enough to be international, small enough to offer a good living quality. It is the best located city in Germany, close to Italy, the Alps and great nature. It is laking in urbanity and cultural diversity, but offers a cultural spectrum which can compete internationally, sometimes the inhabitants misunderstand small-town behaviour with bein "special or cosmopolitan". If big cities force a love and hate relationship, Munich can't offer the big drama. It’s a healthy spot with a great airport because I do need to travel from time to time.

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