Behind each photo is the person who did it. Who are all these photographers? How do they get in love with this great art, what does inspire them? Today we’ll begin to get acquainted with one of them — Christine Sponchia. 244 uploaded photos, 649,042 downloads and 31 photos at Editor’s Choice.
The camera was for me the door to the world, to freedom and adventure. I got to know people of different backgrounds, beliefs and races. I saw the sunset in India, NY, Saudi Arabia, Africa and in Paris. I saw people on the street starving and dying of thirst. I was allowed to experience people sharing their last meal with me. I had to watch helplessly as a overrunned child died in the hospital, because there was simply no doctor, no medication, no equipment available. I saw a dictator slaughter his own people…
So let’s have a small talk with Christine. She will tell about her passion — photography — herself.
How did you begin to make photos? Who inspired you?
At the age of 18, I started an apprenticeship as a photographer focused on portrait / wedding, advertising and fashion. For that I had to forget my high school diploma, because it was the only available education place of the last four years in reachable environment for me. But I did not hesitate a moment, within 24 hours I took the job.
After training, I wanted to see the world, so I packed my backpack and embarked on my first trip to Canada for several months, starting in Edmonton to visit the Alaska Highway. I was invited by the Ministry of Tourism in Alberta, the minister was a native of Bavaria, who made a political career there. It continued for several years, traveling to different countries, invited by ministries or for myself to bring the beauty of the world in the form of photographs to the people.
Years later, during these travels, I met my (now) ex-husband and moved to Switzerland. But that was also the time to quit being a professional photographer, because at that time it was not possible as a foreigner to be employed as a photographer or to be self-employed.
But decades later, my professional path led me to Africa and I decided to bring my Camera with me, again. It started in Namibia, South Africa, then to Angola, Congo, Uganda, Senegal, Guinee, Sierra Leone etc. The contrast of these countries has captivated me. The beauty of this continent — the real misery; the warm, cuddly sun — the blood and death on the streets. I found myself trapped in a jumble of emotions, sadness, despair, fear, hope, love and cohesion. I remember well one night when we drove from Namibia to Angola at sunset and I watched the shadows cast by the trees, which grew longer, darker, grimacing, threatening, and I thought, where are you going? ? To paradise or straight to hell …
So, you have a lot of wild animals photos. How did you get into wild life photography?
Wildlife photography was logical for me, I love animals about everything. But it is also true that you need days or weeks to catch a good opportunity that you could implement, either. I admire the works of Nick Brandt, the passion of Kevin Richardson, the commitment of Bruce Young and Nick Chevallier (Bloodlions), the perseverance of CACH, the courage of the Green Rangers (who risk their lives every day) fighting for the preservation of the wild life that mercilessly falls to victim, because of criminal, terrorism financing, poaching organisations . I also wanted to do my part, in the form of “providing” free photographs to all the small and big warriors in the world. From time to time I follow the use of my pictures and am always happy when I find them on flyers, brochures, websites etc of organizations.
Among all your works which one is your favorite one and why?
This one I like most of all. I do not see a big difference between humans and animals. But I see the great injustices man does to other living beings. I see elephant mothers mourning for their babies, I see lionesses defending their babies to the death. I see a sentient being in an animal.
What kind of equipment did you start with, and what kind do you use now?
Well, I started with a KB Nikon I think F3 it was called (analog), a Mamiya RB67 (MF) and a Linhof 9x12 Kardan (GF) for architecture.
Today I have a rugged Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II for outdoor shots in wind and weather and a lightweight Canon EOS 7D with live view for indoor use.
How important is Photoshop in your final works?
Photoshop is a modern form of previous lab work (composing excluded) and retouching. A photographer should actually use PS only minimally. The camera is the photographer’s instrument, not the computer. Cutting, a bit light / dark, ev sharpness, that’s it. Sometimes it has to be more, for technical reasons or in the beauty area. That’s why competitions always want Raw file as proof.
… I flew from Kampala (Uganda) to Angola on the motorcycle with American development workers and ran for my life in the bush a few times. I just saw living, little child skeletons, exploited by unscrupulous CEOs. I was able to observe the beauty of the animals in their natural habitat. I felt the cold ice in Siberia in my hands, like the hot wind in the Sahara. When I started to take pictures, I wished once, at some point, to be able to say all this. Thus, my lifelong dream has come true for me. The camera has made this possible for me.