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SBF Personal. Reto Cortesi


© Reto Cortesi, Geysir, Neuseeland 2020

Reto Cortesi. 2020 was a difficult year for former headmaster Reto Cortesi (49), and not only because of Corona. Due to a serious accident, Cortesi, who now works as a self-employed photographer in Zurich, was unable to work for months. In 2017, he gave up his secure part-time job..

However, as a self-employed person without daily allowance insurance, it became difficult for him, who was able to make a name for himself with corporate reportages and portraits. In 2020, his agenda was filled with assignments, but he was unable to work for a long time after the accident. And: "With the outbreak of the pandemic, my dream of being able to make a living from photography was in danger of finally bursting". 
Cortesi tells the SBF editorial team how he is reorganising his life as a photographer. Giving up is not an option.
Despite the Corona and the accident, you recently expanded your studio. Are you feeling better today? Health-wise, I'm fit again after a year of convalescence. I'm full of energy and - like everyone else - I want to travel freely again and be on the road with my camera.  
What was the worst thing during your long convalescence? The uncertainty as to whether I would ever be the same again was almost unbearable.
How is the order situation today? Because of Corona, the order situation is still modest and fluctuates greatly. Because the employees are still in the home office, the companies are not having any new portraits taken of their employees at the moment.
You have a new online shop for art photography? Besides commissioned photography, I lacked the opportunity to show my own projects. Friends and acquaintances had been buying art photographs from me for a long time. However, the administrative effort was too great and there was hardly any profit left. In addition, I had long wanted to show my free works to a wider audience, and in a more professional setting.
How did you realise the shop and what gave you the impulse? Because I didn't want to draw any hardship money but wanted to get back up on my own, I set up an online shop for art photography during the lockdown, created a new website and took my personal pictures out of the drawer. So today, art photography is my second mainstay.
What is special about your shop? The pictures are handmade on site in Switzerland by expert craftsmen according to museum quality standards. I personally check the quality of each artwork and deliver the picture to the customer. I am also now offering photographers the opportunity to exhibit for free in temporary exhibitions on my "Friends Gallery" platform. This is a win-win solution for other photographers, my clients and me. My motto: "If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share" by W. Clement Stone.
How did you actually get into photography? I've always loved taking pictures and that's why I decided to go freelance as a photographer in 2011 - one of the best decisions in my life.
Are you self-taught? I started as a self-taught photographer, but in 1999 I completed my photography studies at the Ruth Prowse College of Art and Design in Cape Town, South Africa. During this time I worked as a production manager on countless photo shoots. Wherever I was, the camera was with me - also in Sydney, where I continued my education at the Australian Center for Photography.


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