Meet the Contributor: Sylvio Dittrich.

Meet this week’s contributor, Sylvio Dittrich. Starting out as a painter and gaining a degree in graphic design, the skillful photographer and partner of IMAGO tells us how he got started secretly photographing in East Berlin and describes his photographic style.

Depicting photography as an art form both partly over and under rated, Sylvio Dittrich chats to IMAGO about his career and the desired captured messages of his photographs. Working a lot with light and landscape, he showcases moments distilled in time and strives to translate his own emotions into his work to transport the viewer. Secretly taking photos in an East German army barracks back when he started out, he still holds great value for the power of the medium and the commitment it requires. 

Meet this weeks Contributor.

Let’s kick off, how did you get started in photography and why?

My grandfather was a master photographer with a large laboratory and 2 shops, he didn’t quite ignite the spark in me, but he must have given me some of his genes.

At first I went through a lot of professions, I painted and drew a lot and then gained a degree in graphics, pushing me towards photography and then it slowly started. First sales and alot of self-study.  For me, photography is not just about capturing images, but also translating and transporting my own emotions to the subject. If I can carry this never-ending fascination with the customer, then I’ve done it right.


What was your first experience with a camera?

A golden Penti from the camera factory in my hometown of Freital near Dresden, but I just didn’t understand it and unfortunately my grandfather couldn’t explain it to me either. In the late 80s I saw “Under Fire” in the cinema and already then I recognized the power of the medium and the commitment it requires. I then secretly took photos in an East German army barracks and in the ailing Leunawerke and now I am just annoyed to have not done more of it.

IMAGO / Sylvio Dittrich
Photo: IMAGO / Sylvio Dittrich

What five words describe your photographic style or captured message?

Amazed, enthusiastic, passionate, fast, solid.

What is the best element about being a photographer, and most challenging?

You can be very close to people, events and things, or sometimes you can distance yourself from the events, I like both. The biggest challenge is always to recognize the right moment and without working too much with your head, skillfully capture it.

To you, what is the role photography has in the world?

As a documentary form irreplaceable alongside the film, as an art form partly overrated, partly underrated.

What one important lesson has your work taught you?

To be humble and grateful.

"As an art form partly overrated, partly underrated."

IMAGO / Sylvio Dittrich
Photo: IMAGO / Sylvio Dittrich

What is currently really getting you frustrated or annoyed?

The devaluation of photography, the stylistic impoverishment through trends and fashions, with given tools and overflowing image platforms on the net. And that influences customers who prefer to use amateur images.

If you could photograph any historical event, what would it be and why?

The fall of the wall. As an East German, it was the greatest, peaceful turning point in my life and an increase in personal freedom.

What does success look like to you?

When I see pictures of myself in public.

What’s your go to album to listen to when you’re working right now?

Mainly film music

Visit our IMAGO site for the full collection from Sylvio Dittrich including his latest images.

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