I’ve decided to dedicate my passion to the ultimate creator – the Lord, Jesus Christ. He is responsible for all things and creates beauty everywhere – He is nature’s true artist. I’m simply here to capture these fleeting moments to share them with as many people as possible to spread the word of God. Nothing is more important than your salvation in Heaven, as all of us were created by Him. We are all God’s children, made in His likeness, who sent his only Son Jesus to die for our sins. If we can share this message with one person and they become saved, that’s a resounding success! By showcasing my artwork paired with insightful Biblical verses, I hope to share the message of the Lord and help my brothers and sisters learn more about our Savior, Jesus Christ.
My journey in faith is akin to the prodigal son – I spent my spiritual fortune in the land of abundance only to find my way home through Him. After returning home, the foundation of my life was much more solid than before. Let me explain. I was born and raised in a loving Catholic family. As a boy we went to Church every Sunday. But after many disillusioned ideas of Jesus and God, I still questioned my faith in the Lord. As I got older other distractions overwhelmed my thought processes like girls and having fun. I simply lost my way without ever realizing it. Fast forward 20 years later and things started to change. I began to listen. Did you know God never stops trying to communicate to us? It could be the smallest thing He is trying to whisper or a loud and clear shout. The point is you need to listen, otherwise you’ll never hear a word. I became aware of the Lord in many “miracles” during my life that simply could not be explained. They had been happening throughout my life however watching them unfold in real time makes it much more poignant. In the last couple years from 2019 on, I just knew someone was watching over me. Not only did I begin listening but I also started reading. I dove into the Bible and other religious books along my journey back to faith. Within 1 year I had read the study Bible cover to cover, and continue to re-read passages daily. It is the biggest book of inspiration everyone should become familiar with. Not only is it great to know the history of the Bible and its many personalities, but the relationship you build with God along the way is unprecedented. You will come to know Him much better and will have an appreciation and love for our Father like never before. It doesn’t take long to love God and know you’re saved, and it’s the most cherished thing us humans can know. My return back to faith has been dramatic and I’m very much looking forward to a stronger relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Photography is about the exploration of the unknown, to go further and to trek to rare places never before photographed. Photography is about an individual’s unique vision, something they comprehend to create original artwork. Photography is about experiencing nature at its grandest and becoming one with the environment. I was lucky enough to have an interest in photography when I began travelling internationally. Ever since I picked up my first camera, it has pushed me to go beyond my boundaries, to experience this life with more fervor, to discover places with unspeakable beauty. Photography has changed me profusely and I’m very excited for the adventures ahead!
Stefan Hofer is a landscape photographer who specializes in image blending to achieve his artistic vision. His work is both literal and expressionist, as blended images are added together to create the final representation of how the actual setting and place really felt. Accomplishing this task is very daunting, as conscious awareness and meticulous attention to detail are needed to fully understand and comprehend the setting as it unfolds in front of his eyes. Further acquaintance with Stefan’s unique biography and the sources/inspirations behind his oeuvre, reveal an artist who has deftly marshaled passion, intellectual rigor, and solid technique to create a genuinely original body of work.
Stefan is originally from Chicago, Illinois, and was educated in finance and banking. After saving some earnings, he bought 2 things – his first camera, a small point and shoot, and a round trip flight to Europe. He explored the European countryside and took many adventures, all while capturing the moments. All of this became very addicting and Stefan knew his artistic journey was just beginning.
Delving into the art world, he read copious amounts of books about the masters who went before him. He self-taught subjects like composition, form, line, color – all the essential basics. He learned the hard way when many setbacks occurred after realizing the final image didn’t live up to what he was truly seeking. The failures resulted in self-reflection, which created further artistic refinement that led to more successful photo opportunities in the field. The hard work paid off, and now Stefan uses his collective wisdom to create masterful images that truly express his emotional feeling when representing a particular place.
Stefan uses a complicated form of image blending that requires patience and a keen eye to successfully convert the setting of a place into one final image. “Scouting the location is the fun part! However, finding a setting that conveys the magical nature of a place is extremely challenging. To organize the chaos of nature into something simple that tells a story and has emotion can be nearly impossible,” says Stefan. With his Nikon D800e held firmly in place by a tripod, the shutter begins clicking. Hundreds of images are captured with the session lasting up to 4 hours. Standing still is not an option, as Stefan meticulously applies various camera methods to pull out the detail, like selective focusing, depth of field, and long exposure. These methods help to emphasize the importance of elements in the final image which give it an ethereal and three dimensional feel.
The unique combination of elements Stefan Hofer brings to his work—artistic, personal, and professional—gives him the credibility of an original. While each individual piece certainly “speaks for itself,” when seen in the context of the artist’s background, ideas, and singular technique, it clearly gains a degree of vitality and significance that indicates the true measure of the work.
How much can one learn about an artist by looking at his work? A review of photographer Stefan Hofer’s latest pieces reveals a great deal about the artist’s life and passions. Oceanic waves pounding the rock in the Tropics – sunbeams pouring through clouds on frosty Canadian mornings – mountain light bending and caressing the verdant forest. Each scene conveys a sense of peace and solitude, while at the same time, Stefan’s bold use of color and strong compositional elements convey the intense beauty the artist sees in the World around him. His artwork invites the viewer on a journey to explore a World that lies far from the hustle of everyday life.Stefan Hofer’s personal journey as an artist began after graduating from University and traveling internationally to Ecuador to visit his former classmate. “Fortunately for me,” Stefan says “I was able to travel to many different sites including active volcanoes and jungles replete with waterfalls. Because my roommate knew what to do and see, I experienced these places as a local would, which created a much richer experience.” The beauty left Stefan awestruck and he knew right then and there he wanted to capture these memories in all their glory. Stefan wanted to create art that reflected his feelings and emotions of these encounters. The seed was planted, and soon it would develop into professional photography.
Stefan first starting using a simple point and shoot camera, and learned the rudimentary aspects of photography. After returning from Ecuador, his sense for adventure could not be satiated. He started planning a European tour that traveled to 14 countries in 40 days. Impressed with the sweeping vistas of Switzerland and the houses of Santorini clinging to the edge of the cliffs, Stefan enthusiastically ran around Europe taking photograph after photograph, and experiencing as much as possible with the limited time allotted. Stefan says, “I learned two things during that trip. Always carry coins for the bathroom! And secondly, I really need to buy a new camera!”. Although some of the images he captured displayed great creativity and foresight, the point and shoot was not flexible enough to take more challenging images. Stefan knew he needed to get his hands on a DSLR.
Armed with his parents Nikon D100, Stefan learned the technical aspects of the camera i.e. utilizing long shutter and different apertures. To change these inputs on the fly was new, and he loved the creativity that was possible with the new camera.
The next grand journey was about to begin and he was ready for the photographic challenge! Stefan was on his way to the Middle East. “The coolest moment,” Stefan says, “was when I stood in a valley with no fewer than 4 different pyramid sites covering a distance of 15 miles. I could see the entire history of the pyramids, from early prototypes to the Great Pyramids in Giza. Looking at the evolution of the six different pyramids was mind blowing, and this unexpected viewpoint truly made my trip extraordinary.
Stefan also travelled through Petra and the Sinai. He camped with the Bedouin in the desert, walked up Mount Sinai to see the sunrise, and explored the vast ruins of Petra. “The historical significance and artistry of these places was breathtaking,” said Stefan. “Looking at the buildings in Petra carved into the stone, or the pyramids made of limestone, you begin to understand that what you are looking at is some of the earliest art created by man. Although the grandeur of these massive works of art could never be duplicated, I felt a need to try with my camera. Witnessing these artists’ masterpieces changed me forever.”
Stefan prefers photographing landscapes because the adventure of exploring wilderness is paramount. Stefan says, “The sense of adventure to search for amazing landscapes cannot be stated with sufficient superlatives. If I can find one beautiful landscape out of 5, I feel like the luckiest person alive to be the only one experiencing that scene at that moment. Nothing compares to that feeling of being blessed to witness Mother Nature at her finest!” Although the scenery in a particular image can never really compare to actually being there, Stefan is uncompromising when post processing the images to final completion in order to convey his feelings toward the scene. He employs methods like focus stacking, focal length blending, luminosity mask blending, and dodging and burning to emphasize certain aspects of the image. These techniques create masterpieces that are highly individualistic and never repeatable – TRULY an original.
Stefan has amassed a following of loyal collectors that line up when new pieces are created and displayed. The eager anticipation is palpable when discussing his new work with clients. L. Johnston from Toronto says, “The colors and artistry that reside in Stefan’s artwork is truly breathtaking to behold in person. Very many guests see the pieces throughout our home and the first thing people say is ‘Wow, the art work is wonderful’. We are very proud collectors to say the least!” S. Golinski from Nashville says, “We purchased four 48″ x 36″ artworks. Each scene makes my decor pop! The views are fantastic … one of a kind. Each gloriously connotes a locale where we have vacationed or plan to add to our travel itinerary now that we have discovered these destinations courtesy of Stefan’s artistry”.
“I start a story with each of my completed pieces,” Stefan says, “but I allow the viewer to join me in finishing the story with his or her own experiences and emotions.” For his part of that story, Stefan employs bold colors, and reduces the scene to its most elemental and powerful components. Each photograph vibrates with artistic energy and color, entertaining the eye and the mind. “I want to create artwork that conveys a bit of mystery and adventure but also the feeling of joy.”