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Hello Berlin #7 - Interview with Stefan Dotter, the fashion photographer whose conquering Berlin

A young man’s new view on fashion

Hello Berlin #7 - Interview with Stefan Dotter, the fashion photographer whose conquering Berlin A young man’s new view on fashion

Stefan Dotter, self-made publisher, photographer and art director, is 23 and has already taken over Berlin ...besides fascinating the international fashion industry. His art is outstanding, honest and it has this delicate spirit you just can’t get enough of. We also couldn't get enough of him and so we visited his studio, which is based deeply in Neukölln, as most of the newer art residencies are. What we found was a young man opening the door - with a big smile and a scarf around this neck - offering tea while we sat in the studio’s little garden, to enjoy the first rays of the sun, chatting and smoking. The talk we had follows here and we hope you enjoy the read as much as we did. 

#1 Who is Stefan Dotter?

Stefan Dotter is... that’s a fucking hard question. I’m basically the biggest joke in the industry (laughing). I started knowing nothing pretending to know everything and now I feel like I know something. I started in fashion but now I’m going a little bit away from it because I think it’s a little bit empty even though I try to find beauty in everything. My goal is to work as interdisciplinary as possible and bring all sorts of photography and art together. But what should I say: Stefan Dotter is a little boy from Bamberg who dreamed big.

#2 Besides being a photographer and an art director you also have a self-published zine, right?

I think everything is interconnected nowadays. You don’t see anybody anymore who is „just“ an art director, or „just“ a publisher because it actually makes it really hard to create something big and really unique if you only focus on one area.  I started the magazine in Vienna when I was really bored studying business (laughing) and at some point, I got invited to the fashion week in London. Before I went I bought a camera to shoot some pictures for the blog and then it kind of started. It has been very natural to me.

#3 How do you define beauty?

Beauty is indefinable. Beauty is in everything somehow. Some people find it, some don’t. I don’t find beauty in everything even though it is there, hidden. Beauty has a lot to do with emotions. I feel real beauty is evoked when I build an emotional connection to a subject that I’m shooting. This is when real beauty comes in. It’s not a very superficial thing - like a person is beautiful - it’s more about connecting on a deeper level. 

#4 What does fashion mean to you?

Honestly... I see fashion nowadays as a background. But I have alway looked at fashion as an artform. Fashion isn't purely commercial - It’s a piece of art for the body. 


#5 If I say "style"...

The first thing I have in mind is street style. I think because that’s the first thing I started with. So I think the word is really connected with this term... 

#6 And what do you think about the street style in Berlin?

Well.. I’m not the biggest fan of it. There are a lot of people that are really well dressed in Berlin but, otherwise, it’s a general problem that Germany doesn’t have a style culture compared to France or Italy. In Berlin it’s very much a mix of what you have everywhere - influences from Scandinavia, Italy, France... - very much a hyper mix. So people here purchase items that fit into that "all black" style, which really doesn't inspire me. I actually only shot street style once in Berlin, even though I was a street style photographer for a whole year. 

#7 What does inspire you?

Hmmm...not necessarily an ultimate image but there is something that immensely inspired me. It’s a book by Pieter Hugo which is called The Hyena and Other Men and the protagonist is a guy who went to Nigeria and went deep, deep into it. There are men there who have hyenas instead of dogs and he made portraits of all the owners... it is just so fucking gorgeous. The images look so beautiful, so other-worldly. You can’t even really describe what you see here - so I really want to do something in that direction. I haven’t decided yet what exactly, but that’s the direction.

#8 Your biggest dream is...

To establish myself so I can work in the whole of Europe. I would like to be able to travel around so I can actually choose my base. If I didn't have to be in Berlin anymore, then I would probably be in Italy - in Rome or in Palermo...and, ultimately, have a little house in Italy and just photograph and paint there for the rest of my days.


Photo Credits Stefan Dotter
Cover Portrait Nathalie Francois