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SBF Personal: Dominik Plüss

15.06.2022

© Dominik Plüss, Anna Rossinelli 2021

Dominik Plüss. The Basel photographer (1972) lives in Reinach (BL) and has been taking photographs since he was 15. Plüss works as a photographer in the Basel area and in north-western Switzerland. In 1997 he turned his passion into his main profession. Today he has been self-employed for more than 25 years and works as a sole proprietor in a wide variety of photographic fields. He got his routine as a news and press photographer with assignments in the areas of reportage, portraits, architecture, sports, concerts and events.

Today, Plüss works primarily in the areas of PR and advertising for national and international print media, for clients from the business, media, advertising and cultural industries, but also on behalf of agencies, departments and design offices. Portrait photography - from employees to CEOs - has become a speciality over the years.

He tells the SBF editorial team, among other things, what prompted him to stop working as a press photographer and start working as a portrait photographer.  

You have been taking photographs since you were 15. What was the fascination for you back then? It was the combination of creativity and technology. In addition, analogue photography was still a mysterious black box. Opening it and discovering it appealed to me and was exciting. The development steps with autofocus up to digital photography were also part of the fascination.

What made you choose photography as your main profession? I was young and reckless, but I tried it and it worked. The sense of wonder and passion were greater than the concerns and risks.

You used to be mainly a press photographer, but today portrait photography is your speciality. Why? News photography offers increasingly poor conditions, specifically the assignments are fewer and the fees worse. Media companies want to save money. The clients increasingly come from the PR sector. The picture commissions, their contents, are often the same, but they are commissioned directly and then made available to the media and used there as a matter of course. This means that the pictures are not paid for by the newspaper, but by the person being reported on. This way a company has more control, in fact they are then PR pictures. However, I have been able to make a "name" for myself over the years and am asked directly by companies, event organisers and administrations.

From employees to CEOs, they are all in front of your lens. Exciting? The range from a portrait session of a pharmaceutical CEO in the morning and a Surprise street magazine salesman in the afternoon gives you a unique view on life.

You are a sole proprietorship, there is a lot of competition in photography, the economic environment is often not easy. How do you deal with that? It is essential to find your own niche. Being small, nimble and offering a wide range of photographic disciplines brings stability. A little humility also helps.

What do your clients appreciate about the way you work? I am uncomplicated, efficient and fast, reserved and discreet. I don't try to copy a lock or someone, but try to make the best of the given situation.

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