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If you were to meet Arne Trautmann in person, you would never think of him as a photographer. In fact, he is a Copyright and Intellectual Property lawyer by training with nary an interest in photography nor owned a camera.
However, things took an interesting turn around the mid-2000s when he “adopted” some small-scale stock photo libraries as clients. It was through business that he discovered the idea of shooting pictures not just for memories or art’s sake but rather to serve the commercial needs of others while maintaining quality.
Inspired, he bought a camera, some flashlights, and started shooting under his 123RF Contributor name kzenon. Of course, like many first-timers, he had to learn the “hard way” as the almost instant feedback – customers purchasing or not – proved to be invaluable. Even though the learning curve was steep, having a professional background helped him understand what customers want when it comes to business and occupational images. He believes “It should look less cheesy and more authentic.” Couldn’t agree more.
Browsing through his collection, it’s evident that his fascination lies with people. Basically, people – what they do, how they interact with one another and their environment – captures his attention. It is through the camera lens that he has the chance to experience how a chef works in the kitchen, how families communicate, how firefighters prepare for action, or why mountain climbing is so exciting. Generally, it is not only a technical challenge of getting the right setup, having a good perspective and taking a good shot, but it is also a social experience.
For Trautmann, life as a stock photographer combines the joy of taking pictures, the thrill of traveling, the curiosity of meeting new friends, and the overall satisfaction of producing good imagery that is valuable to customers. Life to him is vivid, diverse and interesting and it is this life and the stories it carry that he attempts to visually paint into his pictures.