Horst Stasny

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© Horst Stasny

Horst Stasny is a living legend of Austrian photography. He describes the beginnings of his career himself as follows: „My grandfather worked for various portrait photographers in Vienna and set up his own business in Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße – a small village in Pinzgau – in 1930. My mother took over the portrait studio after the war. In 1962/63 I worked for Heinz Simonis in Vienna and thus laid the foundation for advertising photography. This fascinated me because it touches all areas of photography right across the garden.“

From 1966 onwards, Stasny exhibited his pictures on a larger scale, soon also on international terrain. Later, his work was printed by renowned magazines such as Abitare, Domus or Marie Claire. And ultimately it was advertising that helped him win awards in the USA, England, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Since 1997, Stasny, who lives in Thalheim bei Wels, has again concentrated on artistic work and on exhibitions. The Austrian’s pictures have been on show in Beijing, Moscow, Los Angeles and Zurich, among other places.

His body of work is characterised by an extraordinary range and by a particularly intense engagement with black, white and everything in between. Horst Stasny says: „I love contrast. While I depicted some architectural studies in bright colours, in many series – especially with people – I like to pull back the intense colours. It’s not pure black and white but still has a certain colour feel.“ Even in the dazzlingly colourful world of the USA, Stasny remained true to his stance: „I photographed Las Vegas – actually the most garish place imaginable – in black and white for Paramount, which was ultimately printed in duplex. It took some convincing, but it turned out to be a very special project.“For experts, the pictures are remarkable for their technical perfection; for untrained viewers, they also usually offer a little wink. For example, when Stasny has Catholic priests pose on gymnastics equipment or puts conductor Welser-Möst in a rowing boat as a beat-setter. „I’m interested in people,“ says the photographer, „and the easiest access to them is certainly humour. It breaks the ice even with non-models and makes them act more naturally.“

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