A talk with … Claus Sterneck
Claus Sterneck, originally from Germany, has been living in Iceland since 2008. He works as a postman in Reykjavík and most of the pictures we see at STEYPA were taken while delivering the mail.
When did you first start taking pictures?
I actually cannot remember. I was maybe 12 or 13 when my father gave me an analogue camera. I liked taking photographs but they were just regular snapshots – landscape, family, friends.
How did your photography develop over the years?
Iceland! Iceland changed the way I see through a camera. Of course I was impressed by the beauty of this country but I realized that I want to take different kinds of pictures, using different angles and motives. It was 2006 when I started my photo blog where I let the photographs (and not words) show where I am and what I’m doing. Over the years I created various projects, e.g. “Pictures – and their sounds” (how does a photograph sound?) or “One Picture Per Day” (a daily picture, taken on that specific day somewhere in Iceland) – for all projects, photography is the basis.
I never had any formal training in photography; I just take pictures from the heart …
What is your relationship to Iceland?
I’ve lived in Reykjavík since 2008 – which means that I like this country a lot! Of course everything has (at least) two sides, and Iceland has a negative side as well. But the positive by far outweighs the negative.
How do you perceive Icelandic culture and nature?
Of course the Icelandic nature is amazing. But for me it’s always been so difficult to capture it on camera. So often it was disappointing to see the pictures later on the computer screen – too much difference in comparison with the moment when I took the picture. The culture (if I compare it to the German culture) is much more creative, and the Icelandic way of thinking and making decisions is not as complicated ;-).
What is your favorite place in Iceland?
I have several favorite places but I do not want to make them public.
How can we see Iceland in your STEYPA project?
“A different view” – and not taken by a drone. You see moments of daily life. Since I am the creator of STEYPA, I want to offer photographers the opportunity to show pictures which were taken in Iceland.
What inspires you to take pictures?
One aspect is to see the “small” world around me a little bit differently and to be more attentive to things. Another aspect (especially for the project “One Picture per Day”) is to give my personal view on Iceland and reveal a little bit of my private life here to my followers on Facebook and my homepage.
What role does photography play in your life?
I always have a camera with me – at work, at home, while delivering the mail (I work as a postman in Reykjavík). I am not a passionate photographer, although it does play a big role in my daily life. Since the beginning of 2012, I’ve been posting a picture every day for “One Picture Per Day” on my Facebook page.
What do you want to say with your pictures?
I would like to let the pictures speak for themselves; they do not need my voice. That’s why I created the project “Pictures – and their sounds”: I include the sound which I record at the same time the picture is taken.
Tell us something about the Photography Exhibition STEYPA itself?
My intention was to bring together various photographers from Iceland and abroad to show different styles of photography all about Iceland. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 we held the STEYPA in Djúpavík (Westfjords), and now in 2016 it’s being held in Ólafsvík (Snæfellsnes).
‘Vielen Dank’, Claus, for answering our questions!
Proofreading/Editing: Melinda Kumbalek