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© Régis Colombo, What about influenza A? At a press conference in Lausanne. 9.8.2009
Régis Colombo. The professional photographer (51) lives in Lausanne and has been working in the field of art, advertising, reportage and the press for 20 years. Colombo was originally an architect, but became a photographer to travel. His career began in 1994 when one of his photos was published for the first time - on the cover of a business magazine. Today, his photographs are published in GEO magazine, Le Figaro or Grands Reportages France magazine. He is represented at exhibitions in New York, Paris, Geneva or Kiev, his pictures are sold in galleries. In addition, he has received numerous awards. His strength lies in the fact that he can work in many disciplines - both in the studio and outdoors.
In an interview with the SBF editorial team, Colombo talks about his extraordinary experience with the Dalai Lama, why he advises young photographers against this profession and why he thinks the planned merger of the associations is important.
You worked as an architect, why did you become a professional photographer? In 1991 there was a crisis in the construction industry and I took the opportunity to change jobs because I was already passionate about photography and art.
Where did you do your training? I didn't do any training, I started as a freelancer at 24heures (Tamedia) and I learned and worked with different photographers in different fields, this is my strength today because I can respond to a very different clientele, as you can see on my website.
Are there any subjects that particularly interest you? I am interested in everything, I am a passionate person. But in the last 10 years I have developed a very personal artistic work that I exhibit in art galleries and that is very exciting.
There are many photographers and a lot of competition - what sets you apart? I am very versatile and have a lot of experience. I'm not afraid to learn when I have to, I'm hyperactive in my job.
Your advice for aspiring photographers? There is clearly a problem of recognition of the profession. The photographer has lost his professional status in this world where everyone takes pictures. And unfortunately, prices have fallen. It is therefore difficult to make a good living from this profession today, we have to be aware of that.
It would already be necessary for the associations to stop accepting members who do not live entirely from photography, because they are often the ones who break the prices. It would also be necessary for schools to stop training so many photographers every year, there is not enough space for all of them, and it is no service to them to put them on the market in these conditions, or to make them unemployed in the future.
To answer the question: I would advise them to take another job to have their back and keep photography as a passion. In any case, those who want to make a living out of it, if they are really passionate about it, will succeed.... but with a lot of sacrifices!
You have photographed internationally known personalities. Is there an experience that sticks in your memory? For the Dalai Lama, we were 50 journalists in the press room. At the end of the press conference, he got up and came to me, shook my hand and left. I never understood why, it was incredible and confusing at the same time.
How do you see your future as a photographer? I will have my first child next June at the age of 51. My main goal will be to support my family, because my life will change a lot.
Why did you join the SBF Association? A complicated question! Our French-speaking federation, the USPP, is unfortunately no longer very dynamic and our profession has changed a lot in recent years. I have always been convinced that all photographers' associations should be merged into one big federation that would have the means to defend our profession much more actively.
One has to move with the times and as a former president and co-founder of the USPP and a member of the IMPRESSUM photographers' committee, I would like to support such a project. There are battles that need to be fought in time.