When it comes to portrait photography, Pit Buehler has his way of capturing the subjects that reflect the complexity, dynamics and subtly of human experience.
Uncompromisingly, his works often evoke authentic emotions, the senses of mystery and memories from the audience. Having been focusing and working extensively on portraiture and people photography for decades, Pit has gathered insights and perspectives around the topic. We asked him to share a few interesting ones on portrait photography in this interview.
Could you please tell us about yourself?
I was born in Switzerland in 1972 – My work focuses on People and Portrait photography.
How long have you been taking photos?
Many years before the first smartphone was invented.
Where did your initial interest in photography come from?
I was always fascinated by different cultures and people and I have realized that Photography helps me to connect with strangers, to open doors and to look at things more carefully.
What’s your process of studying or trying to understand the people before you take their photos? Do you do research on them before? or talk to them before?
It’s important to get basic information about your models and their environment to avoid silly situations and to show respect and interest – but, often it is not really necessary to talk to them – achieving strong results with non-verbal communication is sometimes even easier. I prefer not to be emotionally attached to my models to keep an unbiased view, which makes it easier for me follow my instincts and to let my creativity go.
We have seen that you have done many jobs in which the subjects who were celebrities, I guess there’s a difference between regular people and people who are used to the camera, right?
I think the way people pose and present themselves has to do with their self-esteem and self-confidence and with their social status – people who are used to cameras are therefore not necessarily easier to portrait.
You seem to have the ability to make the subject relax and reveal a candid side of themselves through your photography. Do you have any tips to achieve this?
I agree on Robert Capa’s statement that a good portraitist should “like people and let them know” – so, I guess falling in love with your model for a breath of a moment definitely helps to create intimate and close portraits.
Pit is currently based in Zug, Switzerland. He has traveled to more than 90 countries across the globe to tell stories through photographing faces of our time.
Pit’s works have been widely recognized with international awards, publications, and exhibitions. Right now, he is continually working on ongoing long-term portrait series. Check out his profile and his works about Clowns, Drag Queens, Cowboys and Ballet, here.