He captures all that makes our pupils widen. Skin, colour, impulse, heat – up close, and photographed from afar. In the world of Hans Feurer, the best fantasies are so very tangible. Bold colour, skin, movement, something intensely visceral but just out of reach, so close and yet so far away.
“I think it must have been towards the end of the 70s that I decided I’d completely stop doing black-and-white, because life is colour and all around me I see colours.”
Feurer has been shooting pictures for a long time, about five decades. Since he first picked up a camera in the late 60s, the art of photography and the industry that surrounds it has altered dramatically. With the exception of a precious few, it’s an unavoidable reality for the majority of contemporary photographers who wish to be hired to work within the universal digital framework. Feurer is one of those rare exceptions.
A Feurer frame is like a chrysalid – you can see life taking shape, the process of formation, somehow in transition, moving from state to state. An effect he partly achieves through the distillation of elements, eliminating what’s extraneous in order for the essence of a moment to emerge, which can even mean removing himself almost entirely from the scenario. With the help of a powerful lens he has been known to shoot his models from so far away he needs walkie-talkies to communicate with them.
“The tele-lens allows me to really crystallise what I feel is important and leave out the rest. All you have left afterwards is almost like a perfume, an atmosphere.”
Elle France, 1988. PHOTOGRAPHY Hans Feurer FASHION Michelle Paquet.
It’s only the real stuff of the world that interests Feurer – the smell of a woman’s skin, for example, the magic of a moment happening in real time, a girl rushing across the street with her bag falling open, the fine spray of the sea on a windy beach, or simply a dress on a living form animated by colour and texture and movement.
Left: Elle France, 1998. PHOTOGRAPHY Hans Feurer FASHION Michelle Paquet.
Right: Vogue Paris, 2012. PHOTOGRAPHY Hans Feurer MODEL Karmen Pedaru MAKEUP Yadim.