Roger Schäfer was born in 1954 in the Münsterland and lived there until Abitur (school examination usually taken at the end of the 13th year and approximately equivalent to the British A level/American SAT exam). After two years of military service for the German Luftwaffe (air force), he studied Mathematics (without a degree) in Tübingen and Stuttgart. Later, Roger worked at several companies, specialized in commercial photography and photographic equipment, in Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Heidelberg. Since 1989 he has been self-employed in the advertising business (manager of an advertising agency) and a practicing politician in local politics for 20 years.
What camera and equipment do you use? Specifically, Leica equipment.
I’m almost exclusively photographing with the Leica M Monochrom (CCD). Between my 4 Leica-lenses Super-Elmar 18mm, Summarit 35mm Asph., Apo-Summicron 50mm and Apo-Summicron 90mm, the 18mm is the dearest to me because it supports me the most in my way of taking photos. Besides that I own an Hasselblad 500CM with T-Planar 100mm, as well as two Canon 5 D Mark II with a TS 17mm, 1,2/85mm and 4,0/300mm.
How would you describe your photography?
Since my childhood I’m an enthusiastic black-and-white-photographer. I’m taking photographs with a predilection for architecture and cities. Here I’m trying to put lines and surfaces in a harmonious relationship to one another. By reducing colour to black-and-white also abstraction, minimalism down to a visual metaphor is produced. I love to experiment. Already while photopraphing I see not only black-and-white but at the same time different possibilities for the following image. This is what makes photographing so exciting an so stimulating.
Are you a full-time photographer or would you describe yourself as a serious enthusiast?
As manager of an advertising agency I am, of course, always in contact with photography. My photographic occupation takes up a large part of my business occupation. Creativity and photography are sisters.
When did you first become interested in photography as a mode of expression, and art form, a profession?
Even before I started school I was able to develop black-and-white-films. Thus I carried the smell of a black-and-white-film, with me or in me, since I was little. Seriously I started photographing when I received a Minolta SRT-101 as a christmaspresent when I was 17. Since then I took photographs in school, on vacation and in my sparetime. By dealing with BAUHAUS while art lessons in school my passion for architectural photography began. Since then my biggest wish was to turn my passion into my profession.
Was there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you
I’m an autodidact. I’ve read and experimented a lot. I have to confess that I’ve always followed my own way, “I did it my way” – therefore I’ve never orientated myself by other photographers. There will surely have been one or another influence on my work, but just an unconscious one.
What genre are your photos? (e.g. fine art, photojournalism, portrait, street photography, etc)
The goal, of course, is always ‘‘Fine Art‘‘. The most I want to achieve this through architectural photography, city-documentary but also through landscape. Photojournalism is rather seldom even if the genre can be very attractive, in particular when it comes to topics I am especially interested in: such as history, society and politics.
How did you first become interested in Leica?
When the company Leica first presented the Monochrom I knew: I’ve got to have this Monochrom.
What approach do you take with your photography or what does photography mean to you?
I am slowly steering towards the last third of my life and I would say the photography will take a large part in my life besides my great familiy. The black-and-white-photography has become a part of my life.
Thank you Roger!