Stefan Grosjean (42)
Based in Berne, Switzerland
Words and interview by Dan Hostettler
Stefan Grosjean is an erotic art photographer from Switzerland, shooting and trading nude photographs with huge success.
Interestingly enough, Stefan’s business is so successful because he’s actually not running it as doggedly as you would expect one to work a real business.
Stefan is also the owner and producer of FairTradeNudes.com. It’s not one of those fancy adult websites with a huge turnover. It rather and more importantly is a one-man-show of financing new productions.
Simply put – it is Stefan’s life and passion. At this stage, earnings only cover a part of the production expenses.
Stefan strives to always give the best value to his supporters while keeping everything plain and low maintenance, fully concentrating on the process of making pictures.
Where are you living now and for how long have you been a photographer?
I’m living in Bern, Switzerland, Europe, Earth, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy (just in case you have any extraterrestrial readers). I have been a photographer for six years.
Did you go to school to study photography?
No. I actually studied psychology and philosophy at the University, but then I forgot everything they told us and I have been feeling better ever since. I learned photography mostly by trying out everything – even very stupid things.
What was the first photograph that meant something special to you (by you or anyone else), and why?
Probably the black and white passport photo of the girl from my class I was in love with when we were both in 5th grade. So it wasn’t a photo by me or by anyone else – it was a photo by a machine.
What is the fascination that got you started shooting nude-oriented photos?
I guess human attraction is very difficult to explain to an extraterrestrial race that doesn’t reproduce sexually. But if you’ve ever fallen in love – hard – that’s the fascination.
Do you prefer a certain style (like NudeArt, glamNudes) and what is your idea/vision behind it all?
When I’m looking at nude art I like diversity. It doesn’t even have to be nude.
For me it’s all about beauty and emotion. In my own photos I try to combine a low light feeling with studio image quality. Low light and high image quality is of course a little bit of a contradiction – which is what interests me.
Are there any photographers that you consider to be a creative, artistic or stylistic influence on your work?
Too many to name them all. One example would be Stephen J. Hicks (www.digitaldesire.com) for his provocative poses that are always tasteful.
How do you find/cast models to work on your projects?
I search for them. Lots of work. Some models can be booked through Facebook or Model Mayhem, others only through an agency.
Do you normally pay the models for a shoot or do you negotiate other deals like e.g. TFP (Time for Photo)?
I always pay the models although I never pay myself.
Where and how do you present and publish your work (e.g. competitions, online magazines, guest blogs, real galleries)?
Mostly on deviantART , and my own websites FairTradeNudes.com and StefanGrosjean.com . Then I let everybody steal my work and let them do the hard labor of publishing and spreading my photos.
How do you – in today’s digital world – earn money with your fine art nude photography?
The truth is I spend much more money than I earn. I finance my photography by working 7 other part time jobs. But sometimes I have paid gigs.
Recently I was contacted by a guy who wanted me to shoot his wife (with the camera not with a gun – I’m not in that business. But I can refer you to someone if you ever have the need). They were from Boston and they flew all the way to Italy just to work with me and they paid well … that was a first class experience.
Do you prefer shooting indoors, in a studio or rather outdoor work?
I love shooting outdoors! But after spending a night at an Italian police office for “indecent exposure” I switched to mostly working indoors. I work in studios only rarely, they always feel to “clean” to me.
Many aspiring photographers would like to explore nude work but just don’t know how to get started. Do you have some advice for taking the first steps?
Yes: Invest some money in your first model even if she’s just an amateur. Lots of photographers spend thousands for their equipment but would never give a hundred to a model – that’s a big mistake.
What are your next photography goals?
To keep on exploring the nature of light and female beauty and the mood it elicits in humans and extraterrestrials.
Tech QNA: Stefan’s Gear DNA
Do you work solely digital or also analog these days?
What type of camera(s) & lenses do you shoot with?
At the moment I only use a Sony A7S with a Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f4.
What lighting equipment do you set up for a shoot?
Long story. I carry with me 30kg of lighting equipment. There’s a tutorial on my site FairTradeNudes.com for sale where you can learn more
How important is Photoshop for your final images?
The photo has already to be very good coming out of the camera. Photoshop is only used to make a good shot perfect.
Are you rather a Mac or a PC lover?
I don’t love computers at all – they just don’t have enough personality. But I use a PC.
Stefan, thanks a lot for joining me and the time you dedicated to my readers!
This interview was first published here (May 2015):