"DO YOUR OWN THING, CRATE YOUR OWN STYLE, STAY FOCUSED, CONFIDENT AND PERSISTENT."
Pit Buehler (born in 1972) is a portraitist and performing arts photographer. He was born and raised in Zug, Switzerland and describes his childhood as calm and enjoyable with many beautiful memories. Memories that depict what was to shape his artistic journey. Buehler recalls when as a child, he used to collect natural belongings transforming them into little pieces of art; attempts to express his emotions and fantasies through his creativity. Furthermore, visits to old churches with his parents instilled a deep fascination for the contrasting holiness and darkness contained within the paintings and sculptures that he came across. As a child, he was a huge fan of The Adventures of Tintin and the stories of Jack London; essential elements that influenced his career. Becoming an artist was not something he rationally decided to be, instead, it was his lifestyle that somehow led him into that direction. As stated by Buehler, “Hitchhiking across almost a hundred countries certainly had a huge impact on what I am today.” And without a doubt, this can clearly be seen in his work. Buehler has a unique way of capturing stillness in a moment that reflects what was and what is to be…all in one same image. Whether it’s a portrait or photographed movement, one can feel that everlasting sense of knowingness that encompasses much more than what one can grasp with a blink of an eye, yet at the same, curiosity screams at you requesting the full story of such an image. Opposite feelings that compliment each other and somehow, you are simply left satisfied with the intriguing elegance of such a picture-perfect moment. All portrayed in one image. All said and done in one image.
Q. Are there any particular painting traditions or 'old masters' that have influenced your work?
A. Rembrandt, Bosch, Judith Leyster, Caravaggio, van Dyck, Rubens or Frans Hals are some of the painters which helped me to improve my portraiture and to get a better understanding on how to compose a photograph and on how to shape the light in my artwork.
Q. Do you intend your work to challenge the viewer?
A. My work should be stimulating rather than challenging. My artwork is a reflection of my lifestyle - to explore the world and to meet exotic characters, to enter into their sometimes isolated worlds and to spend some time with them, to learn about their life and art and to finally capture a portrait in my own personal way - that’s what it is all about. In the end, I have the vision to create a subculture of characters who seems not just to be connected with the viewer but also corresponding with each other.
Q. Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. I get inspired by looking at the work of photographers like Tim Walker, Diane Arbus, Sylwia Makris, Vadim Stein, August Sander or by studying the work of old masters. Books may also help me to find inspiration.
Q. What does your work aim to say?
A. Many of my models are very successful and talented entertainers, highly regarded superstars Icons in their field of activities, such as the most famous clowns in the world, the best-in-class ballet dancers, the top circus artists or the beautiful Drag Queens. Each of them passed a long and winding road before they have achieved what they represent today. In my portraits, I aim to allow the viewer to take part in their story and to find their fears, hopes, dreams, and memories in their facial expressions.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. To remain Free Spirit and to be financially and emotionally independent.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. It is not the artistic life that makes one feel lonely, it is how to get along with all the complexity and at times, weird thoughts one gets and is unable to share them with anyone for different reasons. On the other hand, loneliness and darkness are sometimes necessary - as they can be very stimulating and help to reflect one’s work and to find new inspiration.
Q. Apart from being a photographer, what do you love doing?
A. Seeking adventures.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. There is no tomorrow.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. Open your eyes, listen to other people’s stories, be confident, improve your personality, be curious, and let people know your sentiment regarding them.