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In photography, there are two subjects I am most passionate about: people and their cultures. I love them both. That’s why travel photography and portraiture are my favourite genres.


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 my 'models' to relax and show who they are, or how they like to present themselves. I remember almost all the settings where I took street portraits. Have a look at my street portrait book Strangers on the Street (

When we travel, we are particularly struck by the differences we observe. I try to capture these differences with my camera to tell the story. Cultures differ a lot. We tend to judge, but for me, there is no right and wrong. 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.

What photography and language have in common? Just like language, photography can be a means to communicate with strangers and it is a powerful way of telling a story.


Photographer Ralf Steinberger at the Dead Sea in Israel

Ralf at the Dead Sea in Israel.
Photo by Gabi Breitenbach

Exhibitions and Publications

Main exhibitions

Group exhibitions

  • Winner of the Competition: Bavaria Unseen. Shades of Blue and White. München, Germany, 20.1.-30.4.2024.

  • Bilder, Briefe, Noten. Autorengalerie, München, Germany, 4-19 April 2024.

  • La Magia di uno Sguardo (The Magic of a Glance). Shortlist of competition participants. Comune di Angera, Italy, March 2024.

  • Oktoberfoto. Città della Fotografia, Varese, Italy, October 2023.

  • 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.

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 over 100 international scientific publications, see my dedicated computational linguistics webpage or my Google Scholar entry.

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