Interview with photographer Stefan Bogner

After introducing the photographic artist Bill Pack and the photographer Vince Perraud to you, this time we dedicate to Stefan Bogner, who might be known to some readers from the well-known Curves Magazine. In a small interview he tells us more about his background and current projects.

 I love traveling and love the mountains. They are like a power
outlet to charge the battery for me.”

Secret Classics: “Stefan, we are very happy to ask you a few questions today. Please tell us and our readers just who you are and what you are working on.”

Stefan Bogner: “Hi. I am a ‘genuine’ Munich guy. In the 90s, I studied industrial design in Munich and founded the design office fpm with two friends back then. We have worked for international customers, many of the products can be found in every German-speaking household. Because I wanted to focus more on my passion topics Hospitality, Food & Travel and Automotive – the Curves Magazine became increasingly successful and took more and more of my time – I sold my shares in the agency to my colleagues three years ago and now concentrate exclusively on projects in fields that correspond to my personal passion.
I love traveling and love the mountains. They are like a power outlet to charge the battery for me. In addition, I started very early in my life to prepare old VW Beetles and eventually an old Porsche came around the corner.”

SC: “How did you come up with the idea of starting your own magazine? Do you spontaneously remember any special moments that have brought up this plan?”

SB: “I got my driver’s license in 1986 – that was the key to freedom – and then drove with friends for six weeks through France. After that USA, Europe – the main thing was going out and ‘roadtripping’. I always had a good time ‘on the road’. Then the car became a place of rest to me – that may sound a bit bizarre. In the office it went up high, at home I had a family with toddlers – full throttle everywhere. In the car I closed the door behind me and it was ‘me time’.
As a little break I drove into the mountains in my old Porsche with some friends a few times a year. To prepare my trips, I always missed a road trip magazine that appealed to me. At the time I had already designed travel magazines for MairDumont for eight years and in that job your antenna is always on reception. On a trip around the Sella circuit in the Dolomites, I scribbled the concept of Curves in a sketchbook in about five minutes: 5 days roadtrip – a time window you can always cut free somehow. A country, empty streets, modern layout.”

SC: “If you had to describe the contents of Curves Magazine in three words, which ones would you think of first?”

SB: “Soulful driving – sorry, only two words.”

SC: “Photography is often associated with a lot of preparation and planning. How can we imagine your shootings and the production of a book?”

SB: “The planning for the locations and trips I do in winter, old-school with maps. You have the best overview in them and get a good feel for the area. Then, of course, social media helps for interesting contacts and I also use Google Earth. Each trip develops over 2 to 3 months. Even at the planning stage, the anticipation of the journey is a constant companion. Everything then develops almost by itself.
On the journey we are a small group – maximum four people in two cars. Me, my best friend, driver and assistant Michi Daiminger, David zu Elfe for the movie and most of the time someone from Porsche if we have a new car with us. For a Curves edition, we are about 2 to 3 weeks on the road – after that comes the image selection at home, image editing, layout and so on. This also takes about 3 weeks of pure production time.”

 “In my late 20s I bought my first 911 – a 1986 Carrera,
which I still own today with 300,000 km on the clock
– 180,000 of them on Alpine roads.”

SC: “With Porsche you have found an incredibly authentic partner for the project. What connects you with Porsche and where does your passion for the sports cars from Zuffenhausen come from?”

SB: “My parents had a 911 and a 944 in 70s and 80s. I remember the rides in the back of the Targa well. My first car was a Lancia Abarth A112, which had an engine failure after only 8 weeks. From my remaining money I bought a Beetle – after that it happened to me. In my late 20s I bought my first 911 – a 1986 Carrera, which I still own today with 300,000 km on the clock – 180,000 of them on Alpine roads. With time and growing contacts in the Porsche community, some beloved cars were added to the collection. A Porsche is the best ‘interface’ for me. It is visually a pleasure and has its own physicality and sensuality, which is unique. With a Porsche you are always well dressed. Besides, no Porsche has ever failed me on one of my trips so far.”

SC: “Last year you’ve been to Austria, among other places, where you shot a spectacular video about Porsche’s 70th Anniversary. Let us take a quick look at this project and the effort behind it.”

SB: “Most of the vehicles came from Curves fans and friends. I organizes the cars after two days on the phone. These are typical Porsche fans – they just come along to have fun and a good time together. I didn’t even think that it would be that easy. Porsche Design and GO provided us with the Mission E Concept and the 911 T Rally and also supported us in the project.
The operators of the Grossglocknerstrasse, many thanks at this point, were immediately on our site. At the same time I did a book project about the Grossglockner and the only problem was to make an appointment. Because of a bad weather front we had to pull the shoot and the film through in just one day, which was pretty hectic. The road only had to be closed for us in the morning between 5 and 8 o’clock.
The team wasn’t big, we had DJI as a drone team, David zu Elfe shoot the video and I took pictures with Michi Daiminger. Everything went like clockwork – in retrospect, an incredibly beautiful day, of which I really only noticed something afterwards, when I looked through the pictures.”

SC: “The magazine also often takes you far out of the Alpine region. Which place has surprised you the most and why?”

SB: “Every region has something special, every encounter with another culture and its people. Iceland, Scotland, the Pyrenees, recently Thailand surprised me completely. But even if I come to Switzerland for the 50th time, or to the Dolomites or the French Alps – it is always unique. The Sustenpass, one of my favourite roads, is always an experience again.”

SC: “Just recently, you were in Bangkok at the Porsche event ‘Das Treffen 3’. How do you feel about the car scene there and how does it differ to our scene in Europe?”

SB: “Even more relaxed than in California, deep knowledge, attention to details, very familiar, attentive and friendly. Of course, the country, culture and people play a major role. Naturally, the RWB Porsches are also interesting – but this is a separate culture.”

SC: “Finally, our classic question: If you could choose any car in any location for a photo shoot, which car would you like to shoot and where?”

SB: “New Zealand – 550 Spyder – on a road trip. But the 917 is also at the top of my list.”

SC: “Thank you for your detailed answers, Stefan. Continue to be successful in your diverse projects. We look forward to reading more about it.”

More pictures of Stefan Bogner can be found on the Instagram account @curvesmagazin

Images: Stefan Bogner