Addicted to New Impressions

Interview with Alexander Kaiser

Alexander Kaiser loves the outdoor. His line of work as a photographer is all about landscapes, sports, sports fashion, and advertising. Among his customers are major international companies. In this LA LOUPE interview, he tells us why he has never abandoned his Arlberg home and considers Photoshop to be an art form of its own.

L.L.

What kind of (photographic) art would we find hanging on your walls?

A.K.

None at all – an old farm house speaks for itself.

L.L.

You specialise in landscape, sports/fashion, and general advertising photography. Which jobs are you most proud of?

A.K.

Certainly a campaign in the Indian Himalayas and another one in the far north at Svalbard; these projects for different snowboard and ski companies were extremely exciting and just as comprehensive.

L.L.

What are the criteria for selecting your projects?

A.K.

The most important factors are unbiased work and the opportunity to bring in my own creativity.

L.L.

You work all around the world. Is it something special to have a job “at home”? Are you more critical in such projects?

A.K.

I have numerous customers around the Arlberg (hotels, Arlberg Tourism Association, regional banks, private customers, Arlberg guests ...). One long-term customer that is special to me is the Strolz Sports and Fashion Store. It is a great feeling to work at home because this is, of course, the place I know best and where I can prepare and plan everything much better. Nevertheless, it is always a challenge to reinterpret what you already know time and again.

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L.L.

Do social media channels such as Instagram where everybody posts their own pictures make life more difficult for a photographer? Do you post pictures yourself?

A.K.

No, of course not. From time to time, I like surfing through the channels and draw inspiration from them. I need Instagram for my own marketing as well.

L.L.

There is so much modern photo equipment can already do. What features do you appreciate the most? And does it happen that you use a simple analog camera?

A.K.

On the one side, I really like the high photosensitivity and speed of modern small-format cameras, and on the other side the acuity and unbelievable wealth of detail of today’s digital medium-format systems. And no, I do not use analog cameras anymore. 

Slideshow

L.L.

How important is photographic technology in your outdoor projects? Do photographers somehow also have to be meteorologists or survival experts? You certainly need to be athletic …

A.K.

You need to be a hobby meteorologist for sure. Listening to and reading the weather report is part of my routine work. You need to find your way around and feel safe in alpine terrain. So you could say that stamina as well as climbing and skiing skills are basic requirements to work effectively and stay safe.

L.L.

Do you prefer summer or winter for your pictures?

A.K.

Every season has a charm of its own: storms and thunder in summer, driving snow and cloudy skies in winter, foehn atmosphere etc.

L.L.

How much Photoshop can a picture take?

A.K.

I think we should consider and communicate this as an art form of its own. There is a programme called Photoshop with its countless features – so why should not we photographers use it? A photo­grapher cannot survive without a good “digital background” anymore. After all, you need to be able to turn the “captured” pixels into a picture. In former times, this work was done based on laboratories, chemicals and various film materials. And I also believe that digital photography is by no means easier than analog photography. A great picture always comes first – you cannot edit what is not there.

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L.L.

And what about the highly edited models you find in the fashion industry?

A.K.

Well, of course this is something completely different. As I have said, I consider it to be an art form of its own. In this case, a new virtual being full of dreams and desires of beauty and perfection is born. I always like taking a look at such projects and am impressed by what you can do already. The final product is a team effort of photographer, stylist, make-up artist, and of course the digital artist.

L.L.

How often in a year do you travel for your job? What is such a trip like?

A.K.

As often as possible! My trips are always different: bag packing through the mountains, taking the VW Transporter across Norway, trekking in Nepal, or heading over the Atlantic Ocean on a ship.

L.L.

How can a photographer survive in today’s photo mania?

A.K.

On loyal customers, experience, and “guarantee of success”.

Slideshow

L.L.

Have aesthetics changed in the photography of the last few years? When is a picture beautiful today?

A.K.

There is not a lot that has not already been captured on film. Today it is all about reinterpreting what we already know.

L.L.

Tell us the most versatile Arlberg motif?

A.K.

In my opinion, Flexen Pass and its surroundings will always be timeless classic.

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Alexander Kaiser’s Wordrap

My favourite camera/lens?

Arca Swiss Rm3Di/Rodenstock 70 mm.

Three traits of a good photographer?

Patience in preparation, speed in implementation, and a feeling for the right place and the right time.

My favourite travel destination?

No one in particular. There are so many beautiful spots.

Three powerful places at the Arlberg?

Spullersee/Goppenspitze/Rohnspitze, Steinernes Meer/Formaletsch, Erzberg.

I am …

addicted to new impressions.

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I am not …

satisfied easily.

Romantic or real?

Some of both (with Gemini as my zodiac sign, that is quite easy).

Alex Kaiser in focus

Born in Wald am Arlberg, Alex Kaiser soon discovered his love for alpine nature, climbing, skiing, and photography. He has been an independent photographer since 1996 and travels to the world’s most impressive landscapes for his customers. Numerous awards account for the extraordinary quality of his work.