Whatever it may be called: a league, gathering, or just a meeting of friends sharing a hobby; there seems to be something for everyone. In the series, Hobby Buddies, Swiss photographers Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini create whimsical portraits of a plethora of pastimes.
The series started in 2007 as a handful of photos that were submitted for a feature in the weekly newspaper Basler Zeitung (a Swiss-German daily newspaper) and blossomed into a soon-to-be published book.
“It’s sports of course, it’s games, technical things, things inside, things outside, social groups, and also things for pleasure and enjoyment, like smoking,” says Sprecher. “You have all different ages, men, women, kids from different social backgrounds; you really do have everything.”
Each piece is a careful balance of visual appeal and representation of the group. Sprecher and Cortellini strive to show the diversity and the demographics of each group. Some of the portraits have a comical behavior such as soapbox derby cars going though through a car wash or the scuba divers in an empty pool; others have a serious deposition like the “Coffee Cream Lids Swap Meet” or the “Lyceum Club” that look like standard portraits.
The photographers collaborate with each group on the location and style. Permission is also sought from the members to be photographed. In some instances this can be problematic, like in the case of the nudists or BDSM enthusiasts. So, clever methods were used to obscure certain aspects that may have caused issues. The photographs could have risked the reputations of both the photographers and the participants. The essence of the group remains whist retaining propriety.
“We are guests of all those people, and with our ideas we can create a picture together with them and they are guests in our project; it has both sides,” says Sprecher.
As photographers we are part of a collective, but in our spare time, we may do something else. In my free time, I like to collect bottle caps and am a proud brony. Just like us some of the members are part of two or more cliques, like the motorcycle enthusiast who is also a local Star Wars cosplayer. People like this have provided Sprecher and Cortellini with an almost endless pool of participants.
You can check out more from the series on their website (which is in German).
CREDITS: All photographs by Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.