• Lecture by Oliver Stegmann

Photo exhibition 2024

Oliver Stegmann




Sunday, May 12, 2024, 11.00

In German language


In my long-term project CIRCUS NOIR, starting in 2005, I photographed the spectacle behind the curtain in several circuses (including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Nock, Knie, Royal, Salto Natale, Conelli, Harlequin and Helvetia) in Switzerland and abroad. The saddle aisle – backstage – was my “stage”. I always take photos spontaneously and instinctively, I don't let the protagonists pose. I deliberately don't show any photos of the performance in the ring itself.

I want to bring the viewer of my pictures closer to the world that is hidden from them as a viewer. The roller coaster of the protagonists' emotions when they're not in the spotlight. The mysterious, dim light behind the ring. The calm intensity of the introspective artists. The unexpected, magical moments that arise suddenly and never repeat themselves.
This project is a tribute to the world of circuses and their artists. It was published as a photo book by Kettler Verlag in 2021 and won gold in the PX3 competition and 1st prize in the FEP European Photo Book Award.

Oliver Stegmann

Portrait Oliver Stegmann

Oliver Stegmann was born in Basel in 1970. Since his late teens, photography has become a key medium to express himself.
He has been practicing traditional darkroom techniques for years. He makes black and white enlargements in his own darkroom. Today the digital workflow is predominant and Oliver Stegmann prints his fine art prints himself.
He took part in various workshops by well-known photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Anders Petersen, Klavdij Sluban and Ernesto Bazan.
Through years of practicing street and documentary photography, he developed his own visual language. His photos have been featured in numerous magazines and shown to the public in various exhibitions. He has won numerous awards and prizes in renowned photography competitions such as the Black & White Spider Awards, Black & White Portfolio Contest or Photographer of the Year from National Geographic Germany.
In 2021, his long-term project about behind-the-scenes circuses was published as a photo book entitled CIRCUS NOIR.

«I love music, but I don't play an instrument. So the camera has become an “instrument” for my creative work: I compose pictures instead of songs. My photos are intended to take the viewer into an unknown world.»

Main sponsors

photo video zumstein


Resident community of Münsingen
fotoclub münsingen
swisslos cultural funding for the canton of Bern