Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Thomas Schermer

Berlin, Germany
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Julie Ellison
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Berlin, Germany

This story originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of our print edition.

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Micha Vanhoudt lives up to the name Boys Don’t Cry (5.12d/7c) as he takes the whip in Siurana, Spain. To create the dramatic atmosphere for this shot, Schermer waited until night fell and it was pitch black so he would have full control over the lighting conditions.

A background in science gave Schermer what an old professor called “Mickey Mouse engineering skills,” and it’s worked well for his photography. He’s rigged mirrors on the front of his camera for a unique angle, and lowered an 88-pound generator down a 400-foot cliff. “I call it the mad-scientist approach,” he says. “The setup might look sketchy, but it sure works and nobody will see it in the shot anyway.” His biggest growth as a photographer and a climber came when he separated his shooting from his climbing: “For me, being committed to photography means stepping back from my own climbing. That said, I’m still the happiest climber around when I get the opportunity to get my hands on rock, be it 5.7 or 5.13.” With commercial clients like Nike, Red Bull, and Nokia, Schermer will be shooting as much alpine rock as possible this year to develop and grow the climbing side of his photo business. 

Website: thomas-schermer.com

Further reading:
16 Climbing Photographers You Should Know