STEFAN RAPPO is a Paris based photographer.
He is trying to express himself for the concern of his pleasure and to just purely transmit the emotions through frames and movements, also suggested by his collaboration with Peter Lindbergh.
Of course he loves to travel, to get inspired and to create always new photographic stories and it seems that he’s more interested in the USA than Europe, so let’s discover why. This is the cinematographic Stefan Rappo and this is his story.
Where do you live, Stefan? Where do you realize most of your projects? Hometown or abroad?
I am based in Paris, but I travel a lot, I am away from Paris about six months a year. So when it is about bigger projects like “Room 42” or “Mutterliebe” I realize them in Paris, because they need a lot of preparation. Otherwise I shoot a lot of my nudes when I travel; there is almost no preparation to do, it’s just about finding a model and a location, that’s it.
What is the most inspiring thing about your country?
My home country is Switzerland, but I live in Paris since ten years. The funny thing is that I am not so much inspired by Paris, I am much more inspired by the USA. But after all, Paris is very beautiful, maybe too beautiful to inspire me for my pictures.
This is pretty interesting. And who are your models? Who are those beautiful women?
It depends again on the projects. For the big ones I do castings, meet people and really work hard to get the right cast. For most of the nude pictures, as I do this since a while, I have contacts all over the world, and also people contact me to work with me. It is not so easy to get models for nude pictures from the agencies because it’s not really a big market to make money for them. For fashion pictures I get them from the agencies.
How do you relate a model to a location? I mean, you first scout the place and then think of a woman, or you first see a face that inspires you the project and the set?
Again the workflow is very different depending on the project. Per example for “Mutterliebe” I had a story in my mind, found the right location for, and started to storyboarding the whole thing, by putting a character and a profile on every single person. Once I had this, I started to get the right cast together.
For nudes it is almost the opposite. Everything goes really fast; for example for my last nude shoot in NY I knew that I had a specific day time to do this. So I called one of my contacts, she was available, and we shoot the whole thing in about 1h, in between a meeting and lunch. I have to say I like this kind of challenge, it is a sort of a game to get good pictures without being prepared too much. But it can also be that I have a very interesting girl and I try to find the perfect location for, or the opposite.
The most impressive thing about your photography, in my opinion, is that cinematic mood. The colors, the frames, the movements. How did you come along this style?
To be honest I don’t know exactly, I can just remember that people at one point started to tell me that my pictures are looking very cinematographic. I was kind of surprised because it was not a thing which I was really paying attention at. But it is true, I like this kind of pictures a lot since I’m trying to go more and more in this direction because it is something really interesting and it is fabulous to create a universe. I like when the stories are not related to reality. I love the Coen brothers, and maybe that’s also why I feel much more inspired by the US than the Europe.
At the same time some of the pictures are more static than others. Can you please tell us how do you manage the set?
When I started with the photography everything was much more static in my pictures. I have to say I love the calm… simple things. I also shoot most of my pictures in horizontal because it is much more calm, and also more cinematographic. But it is also harder to get emotion in a static picture, so I try to get more and more emotions through the movement. For sure this comes also by working with Peter Lindbergh, a master when it comes to having movement and emotions in a picture.
Why do you make nudes?
I shoot nudes because you don’t need any stylist or hair styling and make up, so less people who can show up too late, or not show up at all… No! I mean yes in a way, but the main reason is that I love women’s body, and it is a fantastic thing to make pictures of. I always loved it, and since I do photography I make nude pictures.
Like what you see? Check Stefan Rappo nudes in the gallery her below by clicking any of the following buttons:
And what are you trying to achieve through your art? What are you trying to say, to transmit to the viewer?
Hmmm, I don’t think that I try to give a specific message, or to convince people to think something or to do something. If this would be my main concern I would better be a priest. I just love my job and I try to do interesting pictures, mainly for me, because that’s what I like. I never thought “oh I have to do this or that”; even though this could be interesting for my career, sometimes it would be good to think like this and maybe I should start with, at least only a little.
But maybe there is a thing that I try more and more to put in my pictures, it’s emotion. I must say I am really jealous when I watch concerts of big bands (like U2 for me) and almost a 100’000 people are going crazy when they start to play… it must be great to have this kind of feeling.
Ok that thing about being a priest made me laugh as hell and the fact you relate your feelings to the music to describe what you’re looking for is amazing. So what do you feel watching your photos?
It is really difficult to keep a “neutral eye” for my own pictures. Sometimes I kind of like them, and sometimes I hate them. It is completely different when I look at other photographers’ pictures. It is much easier to have an opinion about. I would love only once to watch my own pictures as a “third” person.
Text by Nina Sever