Christian Hartmann

Christian Hartmann

Based
Paris, France
Born
Schiltigheim, France
Status
Reuters photographer
Camera
Canon EOS 1DX
“I really like to work as part of a close team.”

Beat

General news, features and sports

One Shot

. Payerne, Switzerland. Reuters/Christian Hartmann
German test pilot Markus Scherdel steers the solar-powered Solar Impulse HB-SIA prototype airplane. The propeller plane, with a 61-metre wingspan, is powered by four electric motors and designed to fly day and night by saving surplus energy from its 12,000 solar cells in high-performance batteries. The flight follows six years' work by 50 engineers and technicians led by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard on the so-called Solar Impulse project.
“As a pool photographer I was sitting besides Solar Impulse co-founder in a helicopter, escorting the plane on its maiden flight. Just after the plane took off, I saw the emotion of Andre Borschberg. For a young photographer, who likes anything that flies, it was really a key moment.”

Profile

My earliest memory of photography is from a school trip to England in the 1980s. I was given a disposable camera to shoot souvenir pictures. They were horrible: completely underexposed and out of focus.

I am self-taught as a photographer. For my 18th birthday my father gave me a Canon reflex camera and a booklet about photography for beginners. That’s one of the most important books I ever read.

My first assignment was a sports meeting shot for a local weekly newspaper. The editor-in-chief gave me the opportunity to shoot pictures and be paid for it. These were my first steps. I can't be grateful enough and I will never forget that autumn Sunday morning in a small village by the River Rhine near my hometown in the Alsace region of France.

The assignment that left the biggest mark on me was in July 2001. Just a few hundreds metres from home a violent storm brought a tree crashing down onto an open-air concert, killing 13 and injuring more than 100 spectators. A colleague and I went to the scene just minutes after the accident in heavy rain. Spectators, including my own neighbours, were waiting for first aid. That’s something you never forget.

The stories that excite me most are those that require planning, organisation and teamwork.