From Cape Town to Klagenfurt: In conversation with advertising photographer Daniel Waschnig

Daniel Waschnig originally comes from Cape Town in South Africa but has been living and working in Klagenfurt for 10 years. The advertising photographer holds a bachelor’s degree in Media and Communications and is currently studying for a master’s degree in Media and Convergence Management. He tells us how his studies helped him to turn his hobby into his profession, what it means to be an advertising photographer and what still connects him to the AAU today.

Can you still remember the feeling you had during your first week at AAU?

I was definitely very excited and positively enthusiastic about what the university has to offer.

How did your career develop so that you are now working as a photographer?

I have always been a bit of a nerd. I enjoyed assembling PCs and dealing with technology. Even as a teenager, image editing was one of my hobbies. In the beginning I only edited photos of strangers, but I wanted to change that at some point. So, I bought a reflex camera in my student days and developed a taste for it. In the beginning I took photos of friends and acquaintances until one of my best friends convinced me to create a Facebook page by all means. Over time I received more and more requests from strangers and also from companies. Until this gradually developed into a full-time job.

What does your daily routine as an advertising photographer look like?

Currently I work almost exclusively with companies and agencies. The course of an assignment is always quite similar. The companies/agencies contact me, we roughly discuss what is to be implemented and then a concept is created. Moodboards/storyboards, flow charts etc. are created together. For the shootings themselves it is most important that everything works technically, that the models are happy, that there is a good atmosphere and that the work is efficient and creative. For larger shoots, photos are usually taken directly into a PC/laptop so that creative directors, graphic designers, clients etc. can view the photos in real time directly on a larger screen. The material is then viewed, sorted out (often together with clients/agencies) and edited.

What do you particularly like about it?

I like the fact that I can organise my working days flexibly and that, through photography, I travel a lot. Thanks to the ideas and thoughts of the clients, I have been able to visit many places that I would never have seen otherwise. Unfortunately, bureaucracy, writing e-mails and invoices or bookkeeping are also a big part of my work. This is part of it, but of course it is less fun.

Have your studies been helpful for your work as an advertising photographer?

Having the background knowledge and knowing how people work in the media world was very helpful. I also benefited from the fact that I dealt more with the new media during my studies. The internet and social media are important aspects of my job. Another aspect is the relationships established during my studies. Many fellow students now work in marketing and at advertising agencies. That connects and makes communication easy.

Do you still have a connection to the AAU?

Yes, of course. I regularly take photographs for the AAU. For example, I was allowed to take the new image photos of the university – the outdoor shots. And I always enjoy being at the university. The fact that I still live and work in Klagenfurt certainly has something to do with the university, because that is how I chose the city to become the center of my life.

Why did you choose Klagenfurt to study?

My parents are originally from Carinthia, which is why we often went here on holiday. When I finished school in South Africa, I wanted to see something new and emigrate to Europe. Klagenfurt was a good place to do that. Of course, it was nice, that you could study Media and Communications at the AAU. I also liked the proximity to the lake, the relaxed atmosphere at the university and the qualitatively good education.

If you could choose again, where and what would you study?

I studied Media and Communications and Media and Convergence Management at the AAU and would make the same decision again. My experience at the AAU has been very positive.

Do you miss anything from your time at the AAU?

My fellow students, with whom I made good friends who unfortunately moved away after graduation.