Passion with expertise: Interview with photographers Dan & Janine Patitucci

Dan balances expertly on the edge of the precipice. A couple of steps back, Janine observes the goings-on. From her vantage point she can see that the composition of colours is a little off; the gait of the models is also not quite in harmony. Expert photographers, the couple are more than used to working together – and know exactly how to create the perfect picture. For more than a decade, the Patituccis have been setting the bar high in the field of mountain sport and travel photography.


How did you become photographers?

In the mid-1990s I was doing a lot of travel as a climber – and taking a lot of photos while at it. Janine was working as an interior architect in Lucerne, and enjoyed doing photography in her spare time. We both wanted to broaden our knowledge of the field, and got to know each other in a photography school in Santa Barbara, California.


How did PatitucciPhoto come to be?

Janine was just finishing the course, while I was only at the beginning. During the summer of 1999, we went on a climbing tour and took photographs of our friends. I realised that my contacts in the ‘outdoor’ industry could enable us to establish ourselves in that field. I quit the course, we sold all our possessions and then spent two years touring the USA in a VW-Westfalia – in order to do as much photography as possible. To start with, we didn’t earn any money, but there were promising signs. And then the doors opened.


What do you enjoy about your work?

For me, being an athlete was always at the fore, and that is still the case today. Janine and I dedicate ourselves to the mountains – as athletes, photographers and private people. Being able to capture our passion on film takes it one step further. We only photograph what we love: mountain sport and travel. We have been lucky to get to know interesting people and make new friends. Travelling to Annapurna last autumn with Ueli Steck was an absolute highlight. Being able to be there and support him – as photographers and friends – was really special. The friendships we are able to make through our work are certainly exciting.


You have lived in lots of different places. Why now Switzerland?

Janine comes from Switzerland. For six years, we split out lives between California and Switzerland. I love the Alps! In 2012 we finally moved to Interlaken, and it really is the perfect place for us. The mountains, sport and the sports community – Interlaken is international and open. We immediately felt at home. Professionally, Switzerland is also the ideal country for us.


What advice would you give to budding photographers who want to follow a similar dream?

You don’t only need to be a skilled photographer; you also need to be a good businessperson. And the most important thing is to remain true to yourself and play out your own passion.


What is your photography dream?

I love privately run mountain huts. For me, these small businesses are an unbelievably beautiful cultural aspect of the Alps. My dream project would be to record the lives of a family and their cows and goats for a season, and show how the operational side coexists with the special lifestyle.