Capturing the essence of 90 countries through captivating photos and crafting compelling tales in over 200 books, Christian and Regula, a Swiss-American photographers couple, have embarked on an extraordinary journey for more than three decades. Beginning their storytelling in the 1990s, they set out to travel around the world, capturing people’s lives, diverse cultures, architectural wonders, and captivating lifestyles.
Collaborating as an inseparable team, Christian takes hold of his camera, freezing moments in time, while Regula keeps the eyes around and manages the journeys. As Christian puts it: “Regula and I have been doing this since we met in the nineties. She runs logistics, and I take the photos. We are a team and overlap in many areas where one can take over anytime.”
The outcome of their remarkable partnership is nothing short of groundbreaking. Through their lenses, they deliver an inspiring collection of portraits, immortalizing the essence of people, wildlife, exotic locations, and compelling narratives from every corner of the world. Although currently residing in the United States, Christian and Regula continue to explore the world, and documenting its transformations. Christian and Regula’s advice for young photographers is to “Think hard if this is what you want to do for a very long time. Have a vision for your life beyond your job or your youthful dreams.”
“We are a team and overlap in many areas where one can take over anytime.”
You have a wide range of photography genres, from travel to art and nature. How did you begin your photographic adventure and develop an interest in photography?
I was training to become an architect in Switzerland when I got sidetracked in the mid-nineties. Once I got my degree, I went to the USA and became a travel photographer.
You started in the 90s when the photography industry and cameras were completely different. How did you develop your unique style? What do you think about the differences?
In the nineties, we were shooting slide films for use in books, magazines, calendars, etc. Your exposure had to be exactly right due to the limited dynamic range of the film. There was no Photoshop; either you got the shot or you did not. So, there were fewer top-notch photographers, and those who had the quality made a lot of money. Now everyone can get a good photo, so there is too much supply. I find it all so boring now I stopped looking.
“Study the market, follow your passion, and plan for the future. Think hard if this is what you want to do for a very long time. Have a vision for your life beyond your job or your youthful dreams.”
Have you worked together as a photography duo, or is one of you interested in photography? How do you balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses to create stunning images?
Regula And I have been doing this since we meet in the nineties. She runs logistics, and I take the photos. We are a team and overlap in many areas where one can take over anytime. She probably has better eyes than I, but she has no interest really in doing photography or writing. But she can organize like nobody I know.
Your portfolio showcases stunning landscapes and captivating portraits, mostly from the United States. How do you approach each type of photography differently? What motivated you?
I get bored photographing the same thing over and over. That’s why I have many areas of interest. As a travel photographer, I had to do it all from landscapes to people and food, architecture, and nightlife. We had a studio in Bend, Oregon, for ten years which got me into strobe lighting and my American Dreamscapes.
How has travel influenced your photography and what are some of the most memorable places you have photographed?
We photographed in 90 countries. I loved working in Argentina because not many people go there. Columbia was great and, of course Southern African Wildlife. Well, there are so many cool places.
Can you share with us the story behind one of your most iconic photographs and the process that went into capturing it?
Probably the portrait of a Crow boy in Montana. I was hanging out with Leland Rock and some of his friends. They had performed at the Custer Reenactment, and we were now taking some pics at their house. I was shooting Fuji Velvia at 40 ISO.
I was shooting and watching and then I saw the boy spacing out looking west. A wind was blowing his hair and I shot two or three frames and forgot about it. Then on the light table, I knew I nailed it. It was published so many times I lost track.
“Composition and framing are the keys.”
Could you tell us how you prepare to start capturing pictures in the natural light?
Right now, I still shoot a worn Nikon D850 for landscapes. Most images I take with a 24 – 70 lens. A 16 to 24 sometimes. You only need a Polarizer filter and maybe some neutral density filters to slow down water or clouds. A sturdy tripod is important. Then watch the light and what it does on the land. It is pretty simple. Composition and framing are key.
You have also authored several photography books; can you tell us about the inspiration behind these projects? How things changed over the years in these projects?
In those days, it was all part of the business. There were no YouTube videos, so books on how to shoot were a way of making money. That all went online.
With the rise of social media, how has it impacted the world of photography and your own approach to marketing your work?
It is a huge part for some photographers, and it helped me a little but overall, it was mostly bad. I can now interact with people that buy my images and books directly, which is nice. In Photography now you have to become a celebrity and do your marketing like Madonna. It is not the best photographer that wins but the most skilled marketer.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers looking to break into the industry?
Study the market, follow your passion, and plan for the future. Think hard if this is what you want to do for a very long time. Have a vision for your life beyond your job or your youthful dreams. You truly have a vision of where you want to go and how you want to spend your life.
Lastly, what upcoming projects or exhibitions can we expect to see from you in the near future?
I wrote a Memoir which is due to be published in 2024. While I have many ideas, I have not settled on a new project I want to start, so right now, I enjoy the freedom of not having to take pictures.
Would you like to add something?
Thanks for your interview.
“In Photography now you have to become a celebrity and do your marketing like Madonna. It is not the best photographer that wins but the most skilled marketer.”