06.03.2019 – Stories & Specials

Zurich photographer and lilac lady Michelle Hunziker

Interview: Christian Schiller

Their photos of Zurich are seen around the world on social media. Who are these photographers? What inspires them? In our new series, we are turning the camera around. Today, the focus is on Michelle Hunziker, who loves photographing cherry blossom and building façades and edits her photos to spread a bit of magic.

Your photos of Zurich are seen by thousands of people on Instagram. How important is that for you?

I’m always really happy when my photos go down well. I now have 10,000 followers on Instagram. But I think the most important thing is to have your own style. If your only aim is to please your followers, you quickly lose inspiration.

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What or where in Zurich do you like photographing in particular?

I like building façades, but I’m not really interested in modern architecture. I prefer taking photographs of buildings with history. I essentially want people to see Zurich through my eyes – it is so much more than the lake and the Grossmünster and St. Peter churches. When someone discovers somewhere new because of me, my work is done.

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Are there any photos that you are particularly proud of?

Word seems to have got out about my love of cherry blossom trees. Friends and people I know even let me know when they’ve found a good one. One morning, four of us had an impromptu little photo shoot at a playground in Zurich. That was really fun.

‘I’m not what you’d consider a traditional photographer – I help SMEs produce attractive content, for their social media, for example.’

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How would you describe your style?

Purple is my favourite colour, which is why most of my photos have a purple tinge. I also have seasonal colour phases.

How much do you edit your photos?

Usually quite a lot because it is the most enjoyable part of the whole process. In Lightroom, I can add a touch of the magic that I felt in the moment when I took the photograph.

Not all photographers earn enough to make a living. What’s your situation?

I’m not what you’d consider a traditional photographer – I help SMEs produce attractive content, for their social media, for example. I am currently studying at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and also have a job as a teacher on the side – my original profession. I like doing lots of different things.

‘I would have thought that the density of photographers would be higher in Paris.’

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People say that there are more photographers in Zurich than anywhere else. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I would have thought that the density of photographers would be higher in Paris. I like it – I like going out and meeting other photographers. I don’t take any work away from other photographers. I’m pretty easy-going about it all.

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Do you also do influencer jobs?

I do some small influencer jobs, but only when they are right for me. It’s mostly tourist stuff. For example, I’ve done campaigns in Ticino and Baden.

Do you turn down any requests?

Of course. I won’t do free advertising for large companies.  And I’ll only promote events that I’m personally interested in, for example.

Is there anyone you look up to in the photography world?
I love Matt Crump’s perspectives and rainbow edits.

‘For me, the best camera is the one that you have with you.’

And what do you do in your free time when you aren’t taking photographs?

I illustrate and create animations. My favourite thing to do is to make short loop videos. The process is actually quite meditative. 

How many days a week do you actually go out with your camera?

I go out with my SLR camera maybe once a week. But I take photos on my phone almost every day. For me, the best camera is the one that you have with you.

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Name: Michelle Hunziker
Born in: 1991
From: Zürich-Wipkingen
Photographer since: 2007
Camera: Canon 80D & iPhone 7
Lens: Canon 18 – 135mm
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