Traveling and taking photographs go hand in hand. This has never been more true in the case of Stéphane Heinz, or @vicuna in the community, who has been to places most people could only ever dream of visiting. During these life-changing journeys, capturing riveting stories and pure emotions becomes his unspoken mission and the camera serves as his reliable companion.
Aside from photography, what are your other interests?
I love travelling, watching movies and TV series, listening to music, and reading a good book or a comic
What does photography mean to you?
It’s an emotion I feel inside myself that I can’t express in words but only through a picture. It’s also a need. When my work keeps me busy and I don’t find the time to shoot a roll, I really feel the urge to take a camera and go out for a walk, to relax and feel free.
How did you get started in photography?
I was given a camera (Olympus OM20) when I was 18, but at the beginning I really didn’t know how to use it properly and the camera stayed a while on my shelf without using it. But later on, when I was a student and went away to the UK for three months, I brought it with me and started to shoot. Of course, the pictures weren’t really good and I made a lot of mistakes, but I was hooked and ready to learn all about photography by myself. That was 20 years go and since then I never stopped shooting—always on film and with a lot of different cameras as I also collect them for the beauty and passion of analog photography.
While taste is subjective – in your opinion, what makes a good photo?
I think a good photo is the one that captured the true emotion felt by the photographer. A lot of rules in composition, exposure, and light can of course help to get a good picture, but the best ones are those who directly speak to your mind, makes you feel something, and allows to create a kind of direct connection among the photographer, the subject, and the viewer.
What is your fondest photographic memory?
There are a lot of great memories related to photography especially during the travels I made, as photography and travels are strongly linked together for me. My stay in French Polynesia for our years was a very powerful experience, both as an individual and a photographer. I already wrote an article about that so have a look if you haven’t read it already.
Another powerful experience was earlier this year in Burkina Faso, when an old man gave me a negative and asked me if I could get him a good print of it. It was a very emotional moment and you can read the full story here.
With so many cameras and other image-making devices available today, more and more people are getting into photography–-it can be a little difficult to make one’s work stand out. What advice would you give someone who seriously wants to pursue and succeed in this craft?
I think that a photographer should first be concerned by the emotions he wants to capture and the very own vision of the world that he wants to share with others. Being true and honest to yourself will allow you to have something to tell in your pictures. Because photography is all about storytelling and emotions.