Willy Spiller, Photographie

Willy Spiller who lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland, is not only a fine
art photographer but also specialises in cultural reporting and corporate
communication. He is also the only Swiss contributor to the famous
GettyImages, USA.

After receiving his master¹s degree from the Zurich University of Art and
Design (ZHDK) Willy Spiller pursued further education in Milan where he
gained experience in a wide variety of photographic disciplines. In the
following years, the majority of his work was rooted in photojournalism.
Travelling on his own or with various writers Willy Spiller has visited all
five continents on his many assignments. His images have appeared in
numerous leading European newspapers and magazines.

He has received prizes for both his published and exhibited work, most
notably for his acclaimed books "Pictures of a local reporter" and "Subway ­
people in the underground". His latest book, produced in collaboration with
the writer Paul Nizon, covers his journey through South East Asia and has
already been published in France.

Willy Spillers photographs have been on display in major exhibits in Cairo,
Milan, New York, Paris and Zurich.

Willy¹s work has been acquired for world-renowned art collections such as
Kunsthaus Zürich, Swiss National Museum, Fotostiftung Schweiz, Getty
Collection, Musee l'Elysee, The Swiss Centre New York, as well as by private

His most recent projects are "City Life. The Human Park"

and "Moonlight", a long term project of the famous Swiss mountain peaks
under the full moonlight.

Willy¹s signature mark involves capturing images that re-tell everyday
stories, using techniques of fine art and documentary photography.

  The author Paul Nizon about Willy Spiller

I have often asked myself what makes Willy Spiller’s photography so outspoken and freshly alive, so captivating, for it to leave such a lasting impression, even after years. I believe it is because of its blend of brazen curiosity and roguish complicity, but also of brotherly compassion.

Spiller is the embodiment of the headhunter. What I mean to say is that he is always hot on the trail of human comedy, or rather tragic comedy. Always led by the question, how do they manage to cheat and fight their way through the carnival of life (the valley of tears): the small, the big, the mountebanks and silent sufferers, the victims, the stars with false teeth, the PEOPLE. Yes, how do they do it and how does he elicit a smile from them, a sparkle of courage and mischief, of beauty, even radiance? You need to have this inside yourself. You must learn from your own experience in addition to what literature and art have taught you.

One cannot learn this in school; it is a matter of personal calibre, of disposition, in the end, it is all about character.

Behind his mask of hipster and hoodlum, Willy Spiller is a daydreamer, hungry for beauty. It is from here that his compassion for everything human originates, which, after all, is only a bashful disguise for his love of humankind. This is his vision, fuelled by his sophisticated artistic energy.

Regarded as a prodigy and at a young age Willy entered Zurich’s art scene with the necessary amount of juvenile cheek to rapidly establish a name for himself as a photographer. He has travelled extensively and has accumulated an impressive body of work in which – next to the “street”, or should we say: “city” – his encounters with artists and writers occupy central stage. 

  Der Schriftsteller Paul Nizon über Willy Spiller

Ich habe mich oft gefragt, was Willy Spillers Fotografie so unverblümt und lebensfrisch, so packend erscheinen lässt, noch aus langjährigem Abstand. Ich glaube, es ist ein Gemisch aus schamloser Neugier und schurkischer Komplizität, aber auch brüderlicher Kompassion.

Spiller ist der Inbegriff des Kopfjägers, will sagen, er ist der menschlichen Komödie oder besser Tragikkomödie auf der Spur, immer von der Frage geleitet, wie sie es bloss schaffen, sich durchzumogeln und durchzubeissen durch den Jahrmarkt des Lebens (das Jammertal), die Kleinen und Grossen, die Blender und Dulder, die Opfer, die Stars mit den falschen Zähnen, die LEUTE. Ja, wie schaffen sie es nur, und wie bringt er es fertig, ihnen das Lächeln zu entlocken, das Funkeln von Mut und Übermut, von Schönheit, wenn nicht den Glanz? Man muss es in sich haben, man muss es kennen aus eigener Erfahrung und aus den Lehren der Literatur und Kunst.
Das kann man an keiner Schule lernen, es ist eine Sache des Formats, der Veranlagung, letztlich eine Charaktersache.
Willy Spiller ist ein hinter Haudegen- und Ganovenallüren versteckter Lebensträumer, auch Schönheitshungriger; von da seine Parteinahme für das Humane, was nur ein verschämter Deckmantel ist für Menschenliebe. Das ist seine Optik, und sie ist von hochentwickelten künstlerischen Energien befeuert.
Spiller ist im Fotografenmilieu Zürichs blutjung als eine Art Wunderkind angetreten, mit der dazugehörigen Portion jungendlicher Frechheit; und er hat sich als Lokalreporter sehr schnell einen Namen gemacht. Er hat als Reporter die Welt bereist und verfügt über ein umfangreiches Werk, in welchem neben der "Strasse" - oder soll man sagen: der STADT ? - die Künstler- und Dichterbegegnungen einen besonderen Raum einnehmen.