The photographer

In photography, there are two subjects I am most passionate about: people and cultural peculiarities.


I like people in their individuality and diversity. I seek less the beauty of youth than the character and the life experience as shown in the wrinkles brought along by old age. Photographing people while traveling is a door opener. It allows getting in direct contact with persons instead of simply walking past them. I enjoy the challenge of getting people to relax and show who they are or how they like to present themselves. See also the street portrait book Strangers on the Street (


Cultural peculiarities are the phenomena we are not used to. They belong to people we are less familiar with or to changes in society. I perceive as noteworthy people dressing their dogs or carrying them around in handbags, but also strong religious expression and people’s urge to take selfies. When we travel, we are particularly struck by the differences we observe. These may be related to objects such as different kinds of food we find in foreign market halls or to different toilet models we get confronted with. Observed differences may also be linked to the interaction between the locals, to the way they dress or the way they live their religion.


I live both of these passions while traveling, hence the screenname phototravelography. I try to pinpoint the perceived peculiarities and to capture them in my photos. For me, there is no right and wrong, but we mostly notice what we are not used to. Photography is highly subjective and it often tells more about the photographers than about the subjects they capture.


Besides photography, I spent my working life following another passion, which is computational linguistics. My life as a linguist who aims to teach computers to deal with human language will thus get its own little area on this site.

Photographer Ralf Steinberger at the Dead Sea in Israel