People. Their stories. Portraits. Corporate photography. Creativity. Capturing a moment in time, of someone’s life: that perfect, authentic, real moment. Advising clients on how to make their brand come alive through pictures. These are just some of the things that award-winning photographer Martin Ruetschi loves to do.
How did it all start? With a potato.
Well, it wasn’t just a potato. It looked like a mouse. And twelve-year old Martin Ruetschi recognized its uniqueness, took pictures, and sent them off to three newspapers – and all three published his photos. Thus was the launch of a successful photography career using pictures to tell stories. By the age of sixteen, Martin had already founded his first image agency and had worked as the press officer for top Swiss athletes.
After a photography apprenticeship in Switzerland and a taste of political science studies in the USA, Martin started his career as a staff photographer for a Lucerne-based newspaper. And then spent over 20 years at KEYSTONE (the largest image agency in Switzerland) as a staff photographer. There he covered political, societal and economic stories in Switzerland and across the world and also launched the firm’s first theme photography library. His photos were published thousands of times in newspapers, magazines and corporate publications in Switzerland and around the world.
Since 2012, Martin Ruetschi is working as a freelance photographer. He focussed his work on commissioned jobs and his own art projects.
His specialization? Mostly portrait and corporate photography, where his preferred angle is capturing the human side of business. From brand campaigns, portraits and annual reports to employer branding and other corporate communications, Martin has an eye for exacting detail. But he doesn’t just stay behind the camera: he also works with his clients to develop concepts and advise them on how to transport their brand and visual identities through imagery.
Throughout his career, he has extensively photographed economic, political and social leaders – from CEOs of successful firms to members of government, sports stars and celebrities. A few names? Nelson Mandela, Sergio Ermotti, Simonetta Sommaruga, Roger Federer, Michael Phelps, Elton John, Lady Di, Cindy Crawford… and the list goes on. Clients have included local, national and international firms – from UBS, Nestle and Omega, to Swiss Re, Swisscom, Zurich Tourism and Enea Landscape Architecture to national sports teams and documenting the building of the longest tunnel in the world (56km long Gotthard/NEAT Tunnel) from 1997 until 2011, just to name a few.
His latest project is a very personal one: Face of Europe. Driven by the diversity of Europe’s people (and the social and economic challenges and changes many of them face), Martin has spent almost 10 years traveling to nearly every corner of Europe. “People are what inspire me in general, and what have inspired this project,” says Martin. “Being a photographer is a privilege, but for me it also comes with responsibility. I want to give others insight into the dreams, fears, hopes, stories and hearts of these people who make up Europe and its rich history. And as borders fade, I want to make sure that we don’t forget the real people who make up these unique countries and cultures. That’s what Face of Europe is all about.”
Martin Rütschi has accompanied a number of long-term projects: from AIDS to aging, ethnic tribes and wildlife. In 2002, Martin was named Photographer of the Year and won the Swiss Press Photo Award for his photo documentary on aging.
Martin Ruetschi lives near Zurich, Switzerland, but he has followed his work to more than 150 countries.