It is a Tuesday morning in his studio and gallery in Düsseldorf. Photographer Stephan Romer is preparing some recent work for further treatments. A few hours before he is leaving for a 30 hours plus flight to New Zealand.
“My wife is a Kiwi,” Stephan Romer says. Originally from Düsseldorf, western Germany, he now shares his time between the remote island in the pacific and the Rhine area.
“I always travel a lot. That’s normal for me as a photographer,” Romer says. Shooting commercials for cars takes him around the world. “My first outdoor campaign was to shoot the Porsche Boxster facelift in South Africa,” he remembers. Now the German brand is a loyal partner to him. Romer just came back from shootings at the German coast.
“Every day is different,” he says. Unlike working in the studio, shooting outside requires steady adaptions. Every day develops with the weather. “As we were shooting on the German coast, there was this moment when the sun came out, creating this golden sunset after a long grey day. That was very special. The whole team got enthusiastic,” Stephan Romer says while sitting in front of his working space: A computer, further equipment and various orange hard drives that he calls “cakes”.
“I have probably more than a hundred of them,” he says. One of the challenges of working in various places is to bring the right data from one spot to the other.
But how did it all start? Born in Düsseldorf, Romer had another profession after school. “I was a windsurfer,” he explains. He even gave lessons. One lesson was for a couple that changed his life. Famous commercial photographer Thomas Caspari and his partner Brigitte Richter offered Romer the opportunity to work with and for them – which he did.
“It was kind of by chance,” Stephan Romer says. “For my dad I also studied industrial design.” But that rather was for the certificate than for anything else. Romer was quite busy back then. Mostly with shooting inside a studio. Food and other consumer products.
“After a while I realized that I was missing too many summers because of that,” Romer says. And so he changed his portfolio to outdoor photography.
Recently he opened his studio and open gallery space in Düsseldorf. With the walls showcasing stunning nature photographs. Many of them shot in his second home New Zealand. “We have jungle and big mountains there. Glaciers and fjords. It’s so diverse.”
Presented in large formats his photos almost soak in the viewer. “This is an area called Valley of the moon”, Stephan Romer says while standing next to a two meters forty spanning picture. The valley is part of the famous Atacama Desert in Chile. “Thanks to the latest digital sensors with now 150 Megapixels you can see every little stone in this amazing landscapes,” Romers says, owing that to his state of the art equipment. Something that is necessary for commercial car photography – especially for clients like Porsche, Mercedes Benz or Aston Martin.
In New Zealand, in the city of Queenstown, Romer also runs a gallery – together with his wife. Many tourists travel to the rather small place of 12,000 residents, located in the south-west of New Zealand’s South Island.
“We’re lucky. Tourists love the photographs,” Romer says. But his work is not only for private residences. They also work very well in offices, or medical offices. Recently represented by REIDA artists, a düsseldorf agency, Romer wants to pursue that a little further in the nearby future.
But first of all: It is time to finish his latest commercial work in his Düsseldorf studio. The planes to Dubai and then Queenstown are booked. “It’s on the other side of the world. A long trip. But also a good option to catch up some sleep on board,” Romer says. (reported by Lars Göllnitz)