Fanciful / Persistent / Emotional
Stefan Rajek is an internationally published photographer based in Germany.
Having a restless creative soul and a detailed eye for beauty and aesthetics from early age on, he never found his own drawings to be enough to support everything he saw or tried to express. That changed when he received an old Rolleiflex from his father, and began to run around taking pictures of everything he found beautiful or just of interest.
Starting off as a hobby and many years mainly landscape and macro, he worked as a professional product photographer from 2002-2014 for an online shop and retail store.
After a creative pause and retraining, he turned to people photography, specializing in portrait, art and beauty in 2019, now working as a freelance photographer with his own studio.
He is known for his emotional and sensual portraits, which have been published in magazines throughout the USA, Canada, Australia, Russia and Europe.
Moevir Magazine May Issue 2021 featured edition
[Wild and emotional]
Photographer: Stefan Rajek @stefan.rajek_photography
Female Model: Eileen Mary @_eileen_mary_
Female Model: Samira Bagdat @samira_yasmin
Female Model: Aliena Assia @aliena_assia_
Female Model: Leandra Monczka @leeaaandraaa
Female Model: Sandra Weifenbach @sandrawb
Tell us something about you. Maybe your life, profession, habit, dream.
I grew up as one of those NATO kids. My father was a fighter pilot and we used to move from one air force base to the next every 1-4 years and across continents. It was then when I started to use art as an expression to hold what I saw and experienced.
So many places, beauty and people and each connected with emotions, so I started to draw at first, but my talent was limited, so it was a revelation for me when my father gave me my first camera, his old Rolleiflex, and I discovered photography for myself. It kept a hobby for me and wasn’t until 2002 that I began to seriously do photography when I started as a professional product photographer for a retail shop and online business.
What makes you choose this profession?
Photography is art, and art is all about emotions. May it be yours or that of the viewer or client. I’ve seen so many pictures that were able to hit me and evoke emotions. Some for a second, others for a lifetime. I always wanted to be able to achieve that within others.
I’ve been modeling from time to time, but a key moment for me was in 2019, when a photographer stunned me with his pictures of mine, showing me a side of mine I didn’t know was there, or at least I wasn’t aware. It was then when I decided: This is what I want to do and achieve in others.
See the hidden beauty in them, bring it to life and make them feel it. So I started to do portrait photography for that and a more artistic approach to express myself.
Could you share how you expand your vision of art, fashion?
People, regardless of model, friends or clients, constantly come up to me, telling me they love my style. While a lot of photographers struggle to find theirs and seriously keep looking for it, I never really thought about it. I’ve literally seen millions of pictures in my life and constantly look at every image I come across, regardless of genre. I think over time you get a deep sense of what you like in a picture or don’t and instinctively start to put that into your own images. If you continue to do this, you end up with bits and pieces of yourself all over your images, making them yours.
In your daily routine, what resources do you like to learn new things about art, fashion?
As an autodidact I’m a true believer that we never stop learning new things and constantly evolve. Routine keeps you repeating the same things over and over again. This is good in regards to using your camera and making it a simple extension and tool for your brain and work, but lethal if you limit yourself to daily resources. As an artist, I like to keep an open eye all around, experiment, succeed, fail and learn from every step and resource I can get hold on or come across.
Is art, fashion important in your life? Why?
Art, may it be paintings, music or images, has always been a big part of my life. It’s a way of expressing myself and what I see.
If you have a superpower or talent, which one do you wish to have? Why?
If I had a superpower, that would be to be able to transfer images and my visions from my brain directly to a target. As a perfectionist I often find it difficult to compromise in regards to resources or limitations. A struggle probably every artist goes through.
Do you have any problems with your profession? How did you solve it?
When I decided to turn to people photography in late 2019, I wasn’t aware of a pandemic right in front of me. I had a million ideas and visions in my head, but struggled to find models and studios were closed. I was frustrated and almost threw the towel.
Luckily I’m stubborn enough and don’t give up lightly, so I started to use social media apps like Spontacts to search for private TfP-Models, and saved every penny to build up my own studio one equipment by the other. I ended up losing 44 pounds in weight but gaining my first cover in October and my studio basically running in November 2020.
What is your favorite camera? Why?
Since I switched to DSLR in 2009, I have always and still use Canon.
I’ve tried different lenses, but as a portrait photographer I mainly end up using my Canon 50mm, or a Sigma 30mm, while my Canon 70-200 is barely used, and a Canon 24-70 is still on my list.
Do you have that feeling? When you have a look at the work you created 1 or 2 years ago, you still think it is in fashion.
Fashion, trends, just as art in general, is a constantly changing and evolving thing just as we are. I think, as an artist, it’s more important to look at your work itself and the progress you made, rather than if it’s still in fashion. When I look at the work I created 1 or 2 years ago, I often find myself asking myself: “God, did you really do this?”, “Why didn’t you…” or “If I only had known…”.
To say it with Cunningham: Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.
Will you still create new works when you are old?
I’m not a fortune teller and nobody knows what the future will bring, but from my current state of mind, I can’t imagine stopping bringing my visions to life.
My brain constantly comes up with new ideas, visions and projects. If I stop creating new work, I think it’ll explode, so there’s only one way: getting them out and done.
There’s no age limit for that. So I guess for as long as this continues, so will I.