Interview With Vivien Schust From Germany

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Vivien Schust

Vivien Schust focuses on pet photography, using her pets and wildlife as models to elevate her hobbies.

Interview With The 2022 MUSE Photography Awards Category Winner of the Year – Vivien Schust

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?
My name is Vivien and I am a pet photographer from Bonn in the west of Germany. I am 25 years old and my passion lies in the photography of dogs and horses and their owners. Photography has inspired me from an early age and at a young age I got my first camera as a gift. My first photographic experiences I have collected a lot with my own pets and still life like flowers and landscapes.
2Where did you study photography?
Actually, I have studied nothing in the direction of photography, but have studied computer science and telecommunications. The photography I have worked out for myself and improved through experience more and more.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
The first picture I took with an SLR camera was a bee sitting on a flower.
4What equipment do you use?
For the series "Wolfhound in red clover" I used a Canon Eos 80D. In the meantime, I can call a Canon R5 my own. As a lens I still use the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM.
5What do you hope to achieve?
That I will gain more and more experience from my hobby and so I can charm and enchant my customers with my pictures. I would like that someday I myself can be an inspiration for photographers and people.
6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?
The many compliments and positive feedback I receive when customers can download their finished images from their selection gallery for the first time. These reactions are what make me happy and a little proud.
7What inspires your unique storytelling?

Animals how much their owners love and adore them, but also the other way around. Simply the magical connection between them, how they deal with each other and also completely focus on each other. The inner bond, as it is so beautifully called.

But I also find it very inspiring to see how animals interact with each other, to observe their behavior and also to learn from them.

8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Harmonious, natural, playful
9Congratulations! As the winner of the MUSE Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
It is a great honor and pleasure for me to win this prize. When the mail came, I could hardly believe it and jumped for joy through my apartment. I haven't been in such a good mood as I was that day for a long time. I never expected this award and I am very proud of it.
10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 MUSE Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

I submitted the picture with the wolfhounds, because the breed captivates me and fascinates me every time. In addition, my boyfriend has also motivated me to take exactly this series.

The one wolfhound I accompany photographically a little longer, however, I have experienced her until this time only with "normal" dogs. The interaction with each other is totally different and so this "project" was born. I find it difficult to call that a project, because such a kind of pictures, as I have submitted, is difficult to plan. We can bring the dogs together and also choose the location, but that's all you can plan.

In the end, we, meaning the owners and I, just watched the two wolfdog friends and let them play with each other. The rest came about on its own.

11How has winning an award developed your career?
Winning has boosted my confidence to continue photographing in the style, knowing I'm on the right path.
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Severina Roth, Alica Mák, Sandra Hornshøj Buus
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
Have more confidence in yourself
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?
Just do it. Go out and take pictures. You don't learn photography from books or YouTube videos. After all, you don't learn to drive a car in driving school, but on the road.
15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Don't stop dreaming and sticking to goals. Of course, also to educate yourself and always try new things. In addition, you should always photograph what you enjoy and brings joy. Because only in this way images come to stande, which you also like yourself.

You should also be patient with yourself. After all, Rome was not built in a day.

16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
Be open to new things, don't imagine too much, like to learn from others or just try new things yourself instead of falling into pattern xy.

Winning Entry

Wolfhounds in the Red Clover | 2022


Saarloos Wolfhound is a dog, but it looks very similar to a wolf. The wolfdogs have an impressive as well as fascinating appearance. You can see the wolf blood…
(Read more at MUSE Photography Awards)


Vivien Schust

Vivien Schust focuses on pet photography, using her pets and wildlife as models to elevate her hobbies.

View the interview article with Max Lévine, another winner of the 2022 MUSE Photography Awards.