Interview with SSSZphoto, Sebastian Sieberg and Sebastian Zimmermann

On behalf of a creative agency, the photographers of SSSZphoto are regularly to be found on the race track, the dynamics area or the off-road course of the BILSTER BERG. SSSZ stands for the initials of Sebastian Sieberg and Sebastian Zimmermann – both passionate automobile fans, friends since ages and also colleagues who work together as photographers. Their work as automotive photographers has already taken them to numerous race tracks all over Europe. In this issue of our online magazine, they share their experiences and impressions of their photo shoots at the various areas of the BILSTER BERG.

Looking at your photographic portfolio, it is immediately clear that SSSZphoto is all about cars. Have you developed a special connection to the race tracks you are on through your work and passion for cars?

Race tracks and cars have always been inseparable. Every car, regardless of whether it’s a modern super sports car or a historic classic, was essentially born on the race track. Indeed, the diverse conditions on the racetrack and the competition of motorsport have shaped the vehicles not only in their technical development. Our personal relation to racetracks worldwide is exactly the same. The atmosphere and rich history of these places are fascinating and always offer new opportunities. Whether it’s the Nürburgring, Spa-Franchorchamps, Adria Speedway, Hockenheimring or BILSTER BERG: We are on and around the tracks – because we started our own journey there too.

How does professional photography at the racetrack differ from your work at other photo locations?

There is always something going on on a race track. The pace is generally much faster and the whole event more action-packed than at studio shoots. In the pit lane, no one pays attention to you as a photographer and you tend to get in the way of the drivers. You have to be able to deal with this, always keep an eye on things and, in addition to taking photos, also be aware of your surroundings. Everything is fast and loud, a very special atmosphere. You have to learn to integrate yourself into this hustle and bustle. As a photographer, you also wear additional protective equipment, such as a helmet and a fireproof overall. At first, this was a major handicap for us. However, as soon as you get used to it, it’s always a lot of fun!

You have already realised various photo productions at the BILSTER BERG. How did this come about and how did you perceive the work on site?

Fortunately, we’ve been able to visit the BILSTER BERG several times. We regularly use the track and the entire area for shoots. The many possibilities and the private atmosphere of the BILSTER BERG offer ideal conditions for photo productions. We have shot there several times in the past for the car magazine ramp and we will continue to enjoy working there in the future.

 And what was your impression of the facility when you explored the BILSTER BERG on site for the very first time?

You follow a long, curvy access road right through the greenery and you already have a grin on your face before you arrive. When we then had the BILSTER BERG in front of us for the first time, we were impressed. The four-kilometre-long racetrack with its 19 bends offers an incredible variety of photo motifs – not only on the track, but also just beside it. And the gradient of up to 26 percent makes the photos appear more three-dimensional. The BILSTER BERG looks like a concentrate of the best sections of other big race tracks. Because the BILSTER BERG is still young, all areas look super-modern. Which in turn also has a positive effect on the photo productions realised there.

What about the other areas of the BILSTER BERG – have you already photographed on the off-road course and the dynamic area?

Definitely. Curiosity and the constant search for photo spots immediately led us to explore the entire area. The diversity of the area is of course ideal for us photographers. Where there are usually long stretches between individual photo locations, everything is in one place here. You can move back and forth between the spots in no time at all. That is a real luxury for us. For example, you first do “car-to-car” on the race track and then drive an off-road vehicle through the off-road course – this allows you to use the production time extremely effectively.

Do you have a personal favourite among the different areas of the BILSTER BERG?

Which location is best suited for a photo production naturally always depends on the type of assignment and the vehicle. But the race track is clearly our favourite!

From the photographer’s point of view, have you noticed any special features that distinguish the BILSTER BERG from other circuits?

A valuable special feature of the BILSTER BERG is the so-called “white label principle”. No advertising or sponsorship of any kind has been placed on the track or the buildings, so that no distracting advertising distracts from the motif when filming or taking photos. This saves a lot of retouching in the post-processing of the footage. In addition, you are really undisturbed there, there is no rush of tourists or visitors, and as a photographer you can move completely freely on and between the different areas. That is something you can only find there.

We have already mentioned the great architecture – everything is ultra-modern. Personally, I was particularly taken with the buildings in the pit lane. Before they were converted into a racetrack, these buildings were used as ammunition depots by the British military. That’s why they have particularly thick walls and create a very unique and exciting atmosphere

Would you recommend the BILSTER BERG as a location for professional photo productions to other photographers?

Absolutely! The diversity of the individual areas is simply great. A visit is definitely worthwhile.

(Editor: Photos: SSSZphoto)

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