born 1966, Berlin – Germany, member of DJV/IFJ
What career does one choose when one is the son of a famous documentary photographer and the grandchild of a respected portrait photographer?
Take up the reins and follow in their footsteps? Or head off in a completely different direction? A family name can be a curse resulting in enormous pressure to fulfill expectations of having to follow the family tradition.
Steffen Billhardt was soon pulled into photography’s circles. The youngest offspring of the family was also fascinated by the thought of capturing life and storing the images for eternity.
While the photographs of his father played an influential role, Steffen, wanted his photographs to be different to those of the generation preceding him.
Directly after receiving his degree in photography he commenced working for a television station in the position of camera assistant. For Steffen it was love at first sight. The possibilities of film as a medium of expression presented a new facet to photography. His thorough knowledge of the rules of photography and his inherited eye for photography stood him on solid ground in film making though he remained loyal to photography.
Between 1986 and 1989 he worked as photographic reporter for a number of different publishers in Berlin. Thereafter he studied film camera at the University of Film and Television in Potsdam Babelsberg. Be it with photographs or film, Steffen Billhardt wanted to move people.
Since 1991 Steffen Billhardt has been involved in the realm of fashion and advertising photography. As with his father, Steffen is also a keen traveler. He has been working for various companies, fashion magazines and advertising agencies like : Bates Asia Thailand, Bates Asia Beijing, Lowe Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, Mandate Adv, FutureBrand, Publicis, Ogilvy & Mather, McCann-Erickson, Harrisson Com, Chuo Senko, TBWA, Leo Burnett and others in the USA, Germany and all around Asia since 1993.
His photography focuses on the fashion models, another theme advertises: Pond’s, Philips, Sony, DTAC – Communication Thailand, WG&A Superferry Philippines, Intercontinental Hotels, Electrolux, Aboitiz, Nokia, BP Petrol, Nestle, HSBC, Tamboril Cigars just to name a few. Steffen has continued in the family tradition and carries the photographic heritage forward into the future.
His technical ability being very similar to that of his grandmother, his easy way of expressing themes being more like his father’s. The narrow line separating art and commerce, between burden and benefit, simultaneously presents a great demand and likewise, opportunity. He is heading in the right direction, though, his photography already speaking its own language of individuality while still retaining the characteristic of the Billhardt touch.
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