Photographer Adrian Mueller grew up in Lucerne, Switzerland and initially studied construction engineering. He was drawn to photography through the commonalities of the two fields: clean lines, concise structures and how light reflects off surfaces. Time in Japan further influenced his creative approach with the Asian concepts of craftsmanship, simplicity and reducing everything to its essence.
Adrian was selected for PDN’s 30, he’s been named twice by Archive magazine as one of the 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide, his work has been published in the Communication Arts Advertising and Photography Annuals and American Photography 25 and 28. Adrian graduated from Boston's New England School of Photography in 1999 and soon thereafter moved to New York where he now lives with his wife and son.
If you have a degree in what field is it? Construction engineering and visual communications.
What was your strangest assignment? There have indeed been some strange assignments but they help me appreciate the good ones that much more.
Which photographer would you like to meet? Sebastiao Salgado. He seems wise and insightful.
Which famous person (living or dead) would you most like to photograph? Albert Einstein. So smart and funny. I imagine a discussion and photo session with him would be mind-blowing.
Aside from your camera and lighting, what item could you not work without? I don’t think there’s an item for me that’s indispensable. However, I do enjoy having a capable assistant who is also good company, so I can concentrate on lighting and shooting and enjoy the assignment.
Is there anything you would not digitally retouch? There are many things, but especially when it comes to food for editorial assignments or cookbooks, I hardly retouch anything.
From where do your best ideas originate? From artists who work in other fields, especially when they’re from different cultures and have totally different approaches to life and work. For example, I admire chefs who create total culinary experiences, as opposed to “just a good dish.”
How do you overcome a creative block? I eat a good meal at a terrific restaurant and have a couple of drinks; that always gets creative ideas flowing.
Do you have creative pursuits other than photography? Soccer.
What music are you listening to right now? Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream.”
What’s your approach to balancing work and life? I’m not sure it’s balanced. What’s most important to me is to do my work intensely and passionately and then take a break and completely forget about it.
What’s your favorite quote? I really like the ancient Hawaiian proverb "Lawe i ka ma'alea a ku’ono’ono" (Acquire skill and make it deep). It seems very Asian in concept, coupled with a laid back and patient Hawaiian attitude.
Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? It takes time to develop a style, a career and consistent success so don't get frustrated if it takes longer than anticipated. Be patient and stay with it.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? How to market my work effectively from the start.