In their book, HobbyBuddies, Swiss photographers Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini celebrate the wide range of human interests and activities in all its splendor, joy, and strangeness. The photographs in the book, though carefully staged like Wes Anderson compositions, show real people from all manner of clubs, leagues, and organizations whose volunteer members are bound by common interests including diving, camping, tattooing, and chess. “It’s a work about all people,” Sprecher said via email.
All the groups were photographed in Switzerland, but the photographs, Sprecher said, are not meant to necessarily reflect anything about the country per se. “It's not important where we took the photographs. It just so happened because we are based in Switzerland that they were taken there. Other places in the world would be similar. Others would be very different,” she said.
Each photograph took about four hours to produce, and involved building scenery and setting up studio lights around it. Finding locations for the shoots, planning its composition, and scheduling all the participants took a few days. According to the photographers, nothing in the final photos is there by chance, from the number of subjects to their clothing and accessories. “It's the idea of the work and the concept to really realize staged photographs,” Sprecher said. “We didn’t want to do reportage-style photographs because they’ve already been taken.”
For Sprecher, who had long had the idea for the project, working with the hobbyists was mutually inspiring. “We always felt like guests in their passion, and they were guests in our work,” she said. “Some people do something and spend time on their interest for many years. It’s very serious to work on something for that long.”
The book, HobbyBuddies, is now available to purchase in Europe and will be available in the United States in November.