The Last Linearity, Untitled by Andrin Winteler

Meet Andrin Winteler

The photographer who skews the Swiss mountain to look like nobody has seen them before

Andrin Winteler’s career as a photographer started out with a phone book entry when he was looking for an apprenticeship position. After that he studied at the Zurich University of the Arts and even did a semester abroad in Portland, USA. He’s been working as a photographer for 12 years now and came up with some pretty crazy ideas in that time. One of them is skewing the Swiss mountains using Photoshop to give them the shape of cuboid, squares, or triangles.

I met Andrin Winteler in a café in Zürich during his lunch break and had an interesting conversation with him. Let me tell you a little bit about him.

His work

When asked about his personal style, all Andrin Winteler says that he can’t describe it himself. Somebody else has to do it. But what he confidentially states about his specialty is that he never portraits something how it looks like in reality. He loves to alienate things like mountains or national landmarks and make them look very different from how they look like in reality.

When looking at his series The Last Linearity my first reaction was astonishment. He made me see the Swiss Alps in a totally different light and made me question reality.

His Dreams and Inspiration

Andrin Winteler shares his attraction to the northern wilderness with three of the other four Swiss photographers, namely Stefan Zürrer, Laura Gabriel, and Markus Fischer. If he could choose one place to live in, it would be Norway. I asked him why and this is what he answered:

“Because I really like the people and the landscape. It’s a cool place for photographers because of the wilderness.”

In his opinion, everybody uses other people’s work as inspiration. To deny that would be a lie. He gets inspired by many different people. His ideas often come to him when he’s on a train. There he can look out through the windows and see the landscape passing by quickly. Sometimes he spots something interesting which then inspires him.

He’s very happy with his job as a photographer. As long as he’s happy with it, he wants to stick to photography. Even if he won the lottery, he’d continue doing the things he’s always doing.

His Camera

Andrin Winteler uses a Cannon reflex camera. He also owns a smaller Cannon. He doesn’t always feel like bringing all of his equipment. That is not a big problem since he thinks that which camera one uses is not as important as it used to be. But of course, if you want to print something really large, you need to make sure it has a good resolution. He told me:

“Whether or not you take a good picture is not up to your camera; it’s up to you!”

Invisible with his Camera

I asked him, what he’d do if he could be invisible with his camera. That’s what he would do:

“Well I’m not the kind of guy who takes pictures of people. I think it’s only necessary to be invisible if you take pictures of people. Although… There are many places that I want to take pictures at where I can’t enter easily. Buildings or rooms which you’re not allowed to enter. That would be amazing! If it’s something with people I’d think it’s interesting to take pictures of a family eating breakfast. That would be very intimate. If only photographers could do that, they’d regain their exclusive status like in the old days when they were the only ones capable of taking a picture. Nowadays everybody can do that.”

Photo taken by Mina Monsef

Intercultural Differences in Photography

Andrin Winteler thinks that photography varies in motives from place to place. Often what a photographer takes pictures of, is to some degree naturally predetermined by the landscape in which he works and lives in. According to this hypothesis, Swiss photographers would often take pictures of mountains while Costa-Rican photographers would probably have the beaches as a one of the main subject.

“I believe that if you are a photographer in Switzerland you can’t avoid the mountains. It’s something three-dimensional and you can take a picture of it and you don’t have to ask anybody for permission. Historically it’s definitely one of the Swiss trademarks and most important photographic elements. But since photography is so diverse, somebody who’s a fashion photographer probably doesn’t come across mountains.”

When you look at it from a social perspective that could also be an aspect of photography that varies from culture to culture. Since many photographers are socially active and try to deal with social issues, they often portray the social issues in their own community, their own culture. While there are definitely social issues that Switzerland and Costa Rica have in common, there are also some that are country-specific.

His Semester Abroad

Andrin Winteler about his semester abroad in Portland: “Going there was like a school of life.” Just like many AFS exchange students, including myself, he struggled with the language at first. I totally agree with him that a semester, in his case only 4 months, are way too short. As soon as you’ve built up your social environment and found out how live in your host country works, you already have to leave. At the end of his semester, he went on a very memorable road trip though the USA.

2 replies
  1. Tab
    Tab says:

    “Whether or not you take a good picture is not up to your camera; it’s up to you!” Absolutely! Like Andrin, my love is the landscape and I love taking pictures with fish eye lens. Well, absolute fisheye is beyond my pocket range. I am happy with substitutes up to say 10-14 mm. Because even with a substitute, you can take great shots. And the top picture of the Swiss Alps is amazing.
    (Didn’t I say, you have a great photographic mindset? I was right, isn’t it?)

    • Miranda
      Miranda says:

      In case you’re in Costa Rica or Switzerland at the times the exhibitions will take place, you’re more than welcome to come and check out more beautiful artwork of Andrin and more talented photographers.


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