Nico Schaerer is a Zürich based photographer who has traveled the world since the age of 18. He has defined a unique approach to the beautiful art of photography while turning it into his profession.
In two decades of work, he has captured stories from around the world with his camera. Along with his business partner Martin Hoch, a travel writer, Nico has made his visual stories available on NUVU, his latest project.
How did it all start out from Switzerland?
I got into photography because I used to play around my father’s dark room. He was a passionate photographer but always kept it as a hobby. The camera became my way to articulate and tell a story, to be able to express what I wanted to say.
My camera is like the pen of a writer, as I love telling stories with images by putting them together. Switzerland at that time was (and still is) a natural playground for pictures, giving me the chance to shoot amazing stories.
When did you understand this was going to be your profession?
At the age of 18 I decided to see the world. And while I was away, I discovered that I had won a prize for one of my works. When the press asked me why I took the particular picture, I realized that I wanted to turn my passion into my profession.
Therefore, I had to study and so I enrolled in the School of Art and Design in Breda (Netherlands). I would investigate the different techniques in connection with the development of my own solution and vision. It was important for me to better understand photography, besides developing and refining my aesthetics.
You have a varied portfolio. Who is Nico Schaerer?
Definitions are not really of my interest. I am a photographer - that is as much as I know. I would rather not be trapped into the boundaries of a definition.
I see my work more similar to that of a storyteller: a good photo is a window into the imagination of the viewer. It must trigger an emotion and not tell you how to feel. It is not only about the content, but about how it affects the viewer.
You have been around the world with your motorbike. Have you found what you are looking for?
When I travel, I am not looking for the perfect shot nor am I trying to capture obvious, emotional scenes. Images have to suggest an emotion in the eye of the beholder, without having to say it.
For this reason, nature with all her energy and force remains my favorite subject. Being able to capture the positivity of the world is my main objective when taking out the camera.
I have traveled from Patagonia to Himalaya and no matter where I go, trying to capture the rhythm of our beautiful Earth with a frame is my only wish. Sometimes, there are great stories behind an empty landscape that we are just not ready to hear.
What is photography for you, and who inspires you?
It is the possibility to express myself. Photography is my job but also my passion because it gives me the possibility to experience something different all the time. Also, I get to experiment with other artists.
I have recently collaborated with artist Silvan Zuppiger. Through 3D installations and photography, we play with the idea of real and illusion, symmetry and repetition.
In terms of other photographers, my inspiration is Sebastião Salgado, a photojournalist who seeks out unique perspective-shifting images of life. He is not only a photographer, with his work Genesis he tell the story of humankind through images.