You have probably seen him around town, with his striking appearance and friendly demeanor…. NOW you get to meet Stefan Radtke and hear how interesting he really is!
We fell in love with his work right away and are lusting over his First Light Series photographed right here in Rye, New York. Find out what the photographer is up to and how he started his career.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to live in Rye?After having lived in Berlin, London, Milan and Munich, and a crazy career as a partner and executive in two entertainment companies, I moved with my family in 2002 from Munich to Rye, New York. It was always a dream of mine to live in New York. Career-wise it led me to reinvent myself and to study photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in NYC. For about 8 years I have been working now as photographer in New York for editorial and commercial clients. I also have a business degree. It comes in handy every now and then.Why Rye? Our son was 2-years old when we moved here and Rye offered a lot for a young family, and it is still close enough to the city.When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? was it a hobby first?It was a gradual process. Through my film career I have always been working with creatives and I have always been a big fan of visual arts. Around 2004 a friend told me about the ICP in New York City and I spontaneously signed up for fun. The first class I took was by the famous NY portrait photographer Amy Arbus, daughter of the photography legend Diane Arbus. Amy was known for brutally honest class critique that often didn’t sit well with students. I was quite nervous about that, especially since I didn’t do many portraits. But she turned out to be extremely supportive of my work and still today I follow her advice: “Try to let go!” I guess her encouragement played a big part in my decision to go on this journey.We absolutely fell in love with your first light series, what inspired this series?The unusual cold winter we have had played a big roll. Going into hibernation mode would have been so much easier, but I forced myself to find a way how to continue my previous project MOVED. The FIRST LIGHT images evolved over several months in 2014 and 2015 shooting around sunrise in Rye. The opportunity to create those images only lasts for a few minutes each day. It’s a continuation of me trying to let go.What is your favorite spot in Rye?The whole Playland / Oakland Beach area (the pier, the amusement park, the sanctuary, the beach, the park) It’s such a great backdrop.Do you have a favorite photograph or pice of work? If you can narrow it down, which one?My work continuously evolves. It has to. So, I am trying not to get attached too much to my images. Usually the latest image is always my favorite.Nevertheless, some images in my portfolio are older and I guess I must like those a lot. One of them is a portrait of Lee and Bob Woodruff, who also live in Rye. The image was taken in the tunnel underneath the tracks at the Rye train station, after his tragic accident while reporting from the Iraq war.Where are your photographs carried in the area?My in-stock artwork fluctuates quite a bit. Most of the images I do are custom prints where I work closely with interior designers and art consultants. Nest Inspired Home in Rye carries a few of my images as prints behind acrylic glass, and you can see all of my available work at http://stefanradtke.com . To help clients in their decision-making process I often do photoshop mock-ups of their rooms with examples of my artwork in it.Be sure to check out his website, his photographs take you to another place and give a sense of calm, which we all need !