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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 thus has its own little area on this site.

Photographer Ralf Steinberger at the Dead Sea in Israel

Exhibitions and Publications

Main exhibitions

Group exhibitions

  • Bilder, Briefe, Noten. Autorengalerie, München, Germany, May 2024

  • Visions on Water. Galleria Pro Sesto Calende, Italy, May 2022.

  • Painting and Photography. Galleria Pro Sesto Calende, Italy, June 2021 and Hotel Sirio, Dormelletto, Italy, June-Oct. 2022.

  • About Water. Hotel Sirio, Dormelletto, Italy, July to Oct 2022.

  • Forza e Fragilità - Natura a Scatti (Strength and Fragility of Nature), Hotel Europa, Ispra (VA), Italy, 3-19 March 2023.

  • Mostra Fotografia e Pittura Dedicata alla Donna per il Mese Internazionale della Donna. Hotel Sirio, Dormelletto (NO), Italy, 1-31 March 2023.

  • Acqua Intorno a Noi. Comune, Ranco (VA), Italy, 22-23 April 2023.

  • Emozioni. Galleria Pro Sesto Calende, Italy, Dec. 2022 - Jan 2023.

  • Ritratti. Castelletto Ticino, Italy, Aug 2023.

  • Piazze e Monumenti d’Italia. Castelletto Ticino, Italy, Aug 2022.

  • Fotogrammi. Castelletto Ticino, Italy Aug 2021.

  • Magic Nights. Ispra, Italy, June 2019.

  • Atomiade 2018 – Sports Photography. JRC-Ispra, Italy, July 2018.

  • Adult Grimaces and other portraits. Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy, Sept 2017.

Photo publications

Photography-related articles (Text and photos)

Books including my photos (group work)

  • Esposizione – Foto-Racconti. Associazione Culturale Europea. 2022

  • 10 autori in cerca di personaggio. Associazione Culturale Europea. 2022

  • Sindrome Sur – 22 crónicas meridionales. Von JJ Beeme. Fundación del Garabato. 2019

  • 16th Atomiade – The Research Centre Games. JRC Ispra Varese. European Commission. 2018

  • Point Break. With ZooPark Publishing. 2021. (Zine)

You will find dozens of articles in magazines and blog entries where my photos have been used for illustrative purposes, by searching for images with the text Ralf Steinberger or phototravelography.

For my scientific publications, see my dedicated computational  linguistics webpage or my Google Scholar entry.

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