Me at the age of two and a half.
I have been a photographer since I was eight (seven and a half, to be precise but I would not want you to think of me as being pedantic – or two and a half if you believe the family photographs), when I won a good, all manual camera in a raffle at a local festival. I still remember picking up the box, realising what was inside and kissing it. I also remember that my Mum’s first reaction was to suggest putting away the camera until I was older but luckily my Dad had more faith in my careful nature.
My first photographs were exposed only days later on our annual summer holiday to the Italian Adriatic coast. I got one – probably 20 or 24 exposure – black & white film and it was not until much later that I was allowed two rolls of colour slide film. Film was expensive in those days, especially in the hands of a child, who was bound to make a mess of it. I didn’t. Even my very first photograph, a portrait of my older sister, was perfectly viewable.
My professional career, however, started out entirely differently, mainly because my parents believed that photography was not a proper, secure career, like everything else that I wanted to be, an architect, for instance, or a ship’s captain. Things were different then.
After entering the adult world, the one that is all about making money, being secure and conforming, it took me another twenty odd years to throw everything over board and make photography my profession. I think this dramatic change, which was caused by a string of things happening in my life, has made me a better and nicer person.
My first SLR camera, an Exacta RTL 1000 with optional TTL prism viewfinder and Pentacon f/1.8 50mm lens. It was this camera that allowed me to discover my creativity when I was a teenager.
For along time after digital had become the norm I believed that film was the only way to go in photography. I only went digital in 2009. In fact, the experience has renewed my love of photography because you can use the camera almost like a sketchbook – a bit like shooting 35mm at a time when all serious photography was still created on 120 mm. Discreet, easy to carry, fast and informal. In short, unencumbered. Still, I miss the smell of darkroom chemicals. My first SLR camera was an Exacta – heavy, solid and reliable. Since I was seventeen, all my cameras have been Nikons.
I love the act of creating photographs. I can sit for hours in one place, photographing all the little things that I see.
I photograph people. Most of my clients are private clients and nearly half of my clients come to me for intimate portraiture, which is a way of describing lingerie and nude portraits. There is nothing stuffy or artificial about my photo sessions and I do not force people into cheesy, outdated poses. I am very fussy about the level of service that I offer.
I also love photographing just about anything else – landscapes, spaces, little things, nothingness.
Here is some trivia about me, missing any kind of meaningful order:
- I am attracted to all kinds of cultures but essentially I am European.
- I loathe the concept of borders, nationalism and organised national pride.
- Where I live, I miss the sight of mountains, clearly defined seasons and proper cafés.
- I love sitting in a real café – sitting, reading, looking, passing time.
- I have lived in New York, London, Vienna and several other places. I do not have any favourite cities but Paris comes pretty close.
- Sometimes I get homesick but I know that it is only nostalgia.
- I speak two languages fluently and get by, to varying degrees, in two others.
- I love music, many different types of music: Classical, Jazz, popular, even Country & Western.
- I do not listen enough to music.
- I like literature and I like books, the proper variety printed on paper.
- I do not make enough time for reading.
- I like paper.
- I had my first photography exhibition when I was 16.
- Over the years, my work has been exhibited internationally, appeared in publications in many countries and featured on television.
- I believe that I do not own the plot of land, on which my house sits, but merely borrow it from nature.
- I do not believe that people own each other.
- I have a high instep.
- I am really, really bad at marketing.
- I was not allowed a pet when I was a child.
- I feel uncomfortable in large groups. A large group consists of five of or more people.
- I dislike any kind of organised groups – clubs, societies, associations, political parties, you name it.
- I am very loyal and my sense of responsibility sometimes frightens me.
- Until a few years ago, I was incapable of getting out of bed early. Nowadays, I am up at 5:20 most days.
- I still believe that my dreams will come true, although some dreams have vanished over the years.
- I fancy the idea of living road movie-style for a while.
- Happy endings in movies are likely to move me to tears.
- I am not religious and believe that religious beliefs are a private matter that should not be forced onto anyone else.
- I believe that organised religion, including the mainstream Western ones, causes much suffering in the world.
- I believe that everyday greed and selfishness are wrong.
- I never trust a politician, official or bureaucrat but I often trust complete strangers.
- I like to think that I can judge people but in reality I am rubbish at it.
- I love architecture.
- I would love to have an old factory or mill for living and working but the lack of availability and property prices make this aspiration an unlikely candidate for fulfilment.
- I am a vegetarian because I believe that it is wrong to eat animals.
- I am intolerant of people, who lack substance.
- I love the smell of freshly baked bread.
- I live with four cats and one wife.
- I have no children.
- I do most of the cooking in the house.
- I dislike sentences beginning with “I”.
- I hate lists of trivia.
This blog is a companion to my photography website. It features additional photography, inside information, service announcements and assorted musings and antics. For more information, please visit my website www.wolfkettler.co.uk.
You can also find me on facebook and twitter: