The Image Quest 2019 saw a completely new category, Best of Instagram by SanDisk, which reflects how important social media has become for photographers over the past few years. With the fascinating image of a skier without snow french freeskier Fabien Maierhofer was one of the finalists of this category. With his award-winning web series "Bon Appetit" on YouTube Maierhofer has shifted his perspective more towards content creation online. With us he talked about this transition and more.
Your iconic shot of the skier made it to the final stage of the Image Quest 2019 in the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category. How important is social media for your work as a photographer?
Social Media is a big opportunity to show my work and for a lot of great photographers this is the best tool to show their pictures to the world. Previously, it was really hard to share what you created with a large number of people.
Why did you choose to submit to this category?
Submitting to Best of Instagram was the easiest way for me and it also meant that I could submit a little bit earlier.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the shot? How did it come about?
Although the shot looks out of this world, it was actually taken at the Col d’Izoard, a mountain pass in the Hautes-Alpes region in France. The image was captured while I was filming a behind the scenes video for one of my projects. When I saw the skier with the suit and the rocks I just took a quick snapshot for my Instagram. It’s funny because it looks so unrealistic and it made me question if skiing will look like that in the future due to climate change.
Your transition from a professional freestyle skier to a content creator seems pretty smooth. Were there any challenges for you?
The real challenge is to be good in both! I’m still a professional skier and need to perform well on my skis but I also need to work on my photography skills. When I’m skiing the first thing I do is ski down the mountain and then, when I’ve reached the bottom I try to take pictures for practice. The only bad thing though, is that now I have to carry a heavy bag when I’m skiing.
What are you more passionate about: skiing or photography?
I think nowadays it’s 34% skiing, 33% film making and 33% photography. No, I’m just kidding, I don’t want to choose between my passions.
What inspires you to create?
Mountains always inspire me. Outdoor sports take up a lot of my free time and it’s crazy to see all of those colors, landscapes and adventures you can find there. I just love the mountains.
What do you usually look for in an image? What makes the “perfect” image for you?
The first thing I look for is a good landscape even before I look for the action. The perfect image is the right move in the right place. And if you have great light as well, you will make a really awesome picture.
What does an image need to perform well on social media?
If you want your picture to perform well on social media I think it has to be vertical. It also helps if it’s a bright shot that is understood by everyone.
What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
Definitely YouTube! You are able to tell a story and you can take your time with it as well. If people want to see behind the scenes material I redirect them to my Instagram. That’s where I usually show that kind of stuff. That’s also a great way to connect the different social media platforms.
Where can we find more of your work?
I share video content, tutorials and podcasts on my YouTube channel. Right now, you have to speak French to understand it, but I’m working on subtitles. On my Instagram account I constantly share images of my adventures.