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Lucian Hunziker – 15 Minutes of Fame with Roger Federer & Co.

Lucian Hunziker - David LaChapelleI had the opportunity to interview Lucian Hunziker, a self-taught Swiss photographer with roots in Basel. His project "Basel in Portraits" is a veritable mash-up of history's most famous photography styles and today's celebrities from Hunziker's hometown!


Mohan Mani: How did you come up with this "crazy" idea?

Lucian Hunziker: "After completing my degree in history, I had the desire to become a portrait photographer. My photo book turns out to be a combination of both photography and history: I have asked famous people from my hometown of Basel to pose for my photos!"

Lucian Hunziker - Basel in Portraits(Copyright by Lucian Hunziker)


How easy was it to attract these celebrities for your project?

"You need enough vigilance and enthusiasm to work with a clientel who is used to be the center of attraction wherever they go. I started out working with acquaintances, and thanks to my tedious networking as a press and portrait photographer, I worked my way up to Roger Federer."

Lucian Hunziker - Basel in Portraits(Copyright by Lucian Hunziker)

What are your photo shootings like? How long do they take on average?

Lucian Hunziker - Basel in Portraits - Roger Federer"For Roger Federer's portrait, I went for black and white with some solarization - in the style of Man Ray. Roger is used to working with top notch photographers.

So after I had set up the studio with my assistant and a make-up artist about an hour prior to the shooting, I had all but five minutes to take a good shot. In the end, Roger dedicated some 15 minutes for my shooting and he obviously enjoyed posing and telling stories of his prior photo sessions."


Have you received any feedback from your subjects - or those photographers who are still alive?

"The reactions from the subjects in my photographs were anywhere from positive to enthusiastic. I am going to send a published book to those photographers whose styles I had borrowed. I cannot deny that I am curious what the masters think of their pupil..."

Lucian Hunziker - Basel in Portraits


What can we expect from you after the successful exhibit in Basel?

"Basel in Portraits was an exhibit of a special kind, as it highlighted 59 portraits of outstanding individuals from Basel, such as Roger Federer, Arthur Cohn, Christina Surer or Baschi.

Since I was using the styles of some of the most important photographers of the past 150 years, each portrait provides an insight into the history of portrait photography. Now that the exhibit is over, "Basel in Portraits" can now be ordered as a book."


Are you already working on your next project?

"I am full of ideas. However, after two years of intensive work, I am going to take some time off. I will be sure to let you know about my next project - once it’s been completed! That way, I will keep all the freedom..."

Lucian Hunziker - Basel in Portraits(The bottom two photographs are copyright by Fotos by Kevin Dennis Müri/Michael Koller)

Mohan Mani

As the chief film-critic of a Swiss newspaper, Mohan is our expert on movies! He makes a living out of his hobby and shares his opinion here and on his Twitter feed @cine_mani...

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