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World Photography Day: Get to know the Eurovision photographers

19 August 2019 at 16:31 CEST
Loreen won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku with the song Euphoria Andres Putting
World Photography Day takes place on 19 August. Today, we highlight the work of our Eurovision photographers who take thousands of pictures during the event weeks and create memorable visuals.

The image above of Loreen may be one of the best known pictures of the Eurovision Song Contest. It was made by Andres Putting, one of our photographers. It was also one of his most memorable moments at the contest: "It was in Baku when I made this picture of Loreen who won the contest. I remember how I waited for this one micro-second to catch the shot and how proud I was, and still am, when I saw the result on the camera. Her picture was like art to me and many years later I heard that the picture was sold at an auction in Stockholm."

Thomas Hanses, another photographer on our team, also has some great Eurovision memories: "In Kyiv 2017, I captured several black and white moments in the backstage area just before the performers went on stage. The lighting conditions weren’t ideal, but I managed to take photos of the intimate minutes right before the start of their performance. In those same minutes the crew members do their jobs, working around the musicians. You see how each participant has their own way of dealing with the enormous pressure [...]. Some meditate, others make a few jokes or practice their stage performance. You don't need many words to explain the feeling because these pictures speak for themselves."

Thomas Hanses likes to think back on the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest: "Imagine, Malmö 2013: About 10,000 Eurovision fans are slowly taking their seats, being all excited for the first Semi-Final live show. While the staff and the musicians are preparing backstage, my colleague and I got the call that the trophy was available for taking the official trophy picture. We only had 5 minutes to get it done which was shortly before the start of the live show. We had the idea to take the picture on stage with the audience in the background. When we got on stage, holding the trophy in our hands the audience totally freaked out which made us feel like the winners already. Funny enough I decided to lay down on the floor with the trophy placed in front of me and I finally took the picture. After we were done, we seized the overwhelming moment of the atmosphere and spontaneously initiated a massive "la ola wave" with the entire arena. That’s proof that the Eurovision fans are indeed the best!"

An easy job?

Taking pictures sound like an easy job, but is it? An amazing picture consists of many different elements, says Andres: "We have to catch the moment. During rehearsals we learn where and when something happens, how the artist is moving, the light and camera settings, the expressions on faces and many more little details. You need to take all these things into account in order to take a good picture."

Thomas agrees that it is a challenging job, but also a very exciting one: "We get to be a member of the Eurovision family, the biggest musical event in the world with an incredible history of 64 years of existence! Sometimes, it’s hard to even grasp all the impressions around me. It takes weeks to slowly let them rest on my mind and transform them into many great memories, step by step."

If you have a good camera, you can take a good picture - right?

Almost every fan who enters the Eurovision arena brings a smartphone, with a good built-in camera. But does that mean you can take a good picture as well? "You can give a Stradivarius violin to any person, but you won't hear music like Mozart would make. The same goes to the picture making world," says Andres. "There must be a mixture of karma, thinking, empathy, open-mindedness and good luck to catch a moment with your camera, or even your phone. The picture is made in a photographers head. After the mind comes the camera."

Salvador Sobral from Portugal has won the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the beautiful song Amar Pelos Dois. EBU / Andres Putting

Talking about smartphones, what do these professional photographers think of the rise of smartphone photographers? Thomas says: "If you had asked me two years ago, my answer would have been: I hate them! But today I also work with my smartphone camera. I just bought three lenses for my smartphone and I already did a whole fashion shoot with it. In my opinion, it is an additional creative way to take pictures; nevertheless, I still prefer my DSLR* camera." (*digital single-lens reflex)

Thanks to our valued photographers Andres Putting and Thomas Hanses, who work tirelessly during the event weeks to take the perfect picture. Happy World Photography Day!