A single photographer is rarely tasked with photographing an entire magazine from start to finish. Still, Munich-based photographer Enno Kapitza’s latest work for PFIZER Germany proves that it’s not unheard of. The project entailed photographing every single story featured in the pharmaceutical company’s corporate magazine, Zwei Magazin, including the cover story and 21 spreads.
While the subjects and stories photographed by Enno are all different, there’s a consistency in the approach and photographic style. Enno’s motif gives the magazine a designed feel and an artistic touch — something more in line with a highbrow art magazine than a corporate publication.
For this project, Enno was hired by Bohm und Nonnen, a design agency in Darmstadt that handles the German PFIZER account. Enno has been working with the agency for over five years, and they have since developed a great relationship. He was thrilled to again have the opportunity to collaborate on an extensive project like this one for their client.
They commissioned me for portrait and documentary photography for their client PFIZER Germany. Zwei, their corporate magazine, is published twice a year and works with journalists to feature content aimed at physicians, scientists, and professionals from the healthcare system.
Each image that Enno photographed was for a different feature related to healthcare; therefore, the shoot took place in over 20 locations across Germany. The varied locations and people he would be photographing meant that Enno had to get to know the subject quickly and capture solid documentary-style images at a fast pace.
We shot in hospitals, shelters for drug addicts, homeless people, scientific labs, private homes, and the countryside. The creative challenge was to quickly understand the topic, the location, and most of all, the people to tell a story in one picture.
While the challenge that comes from doing visual storytelling is nothing new for Enno, learning about the inner workings of the German medical industry was a unique experience for him.
Working as a freelance photographer is a constant process of learning. For this project, I had to quickly understand more than 20 different aspects of the German healthcare system.
The multiple locations required some planning and coordinating of logistics, but often Enno just had to go with the flow and embrace uncertainty to get the images he needed. In one of the images, a nurse holds a newborn child in the maternity ward. This particular image required him to be on standby at the hospital and wait for a woman to give birth. The nurse then had to convince the new mother to allow him to take pictures of the nurse with her baby.
Every shoot was different, some of them totally unpredictable. For instance, in the shelter for drug addicts in Berlin, I was deeply moved by a boy who was the same age as my son.
Months into the project, the shoots were put on pause due to the coronavirus lockdown in Germany. This caused a delay of several months, but once things settled, Enno continued to travel while taking proper precautions and completing the project.
I was thrilled to continue working on this project after more than two months of pause in the first strict lockdown. It was almost surreal to hit the road again and visit other cities and sleep in hotels!
The resulting images are intimate depictions of emotionally charged moments in the medical field and the people who have dedicated their lives to helping others. The natural documentary-style approach to the images and the clean, minimalistic layout of the magazine pair nicely together, creating a compelling narrative. From touching moments between doctors and patients to urgent care facilities and surgical procedures, each photo encompasses a unique look into the lives of the people being pictured that elicits an intense curiosity to know more and, in some cases, an empathetic reaction from viewers as well.