Wolfgang Rattay

Wolfgang Rattay

Duesseldorf, Germany
Bad Ems, Germany
“Always be calm and patient. You can’t force things.”


I cover more or less everything. But in particular, I shoot a lot of news, soccer and other sports, and I’m a specialist in Alpine skiing and underwater photography.

One Shot

. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay
Tears run down the cheeks of four-year-old Aikta as she waits for treatment at a makeshift hospital in a suburb of earthquake-stricken Port-au-Prince.
“There is an old saying: ‘A picture tells a thousand words’. The stream of tears running down the face of this child at a makeshift hospital following the horrible earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 says everything it needs to. No explanation is needed.”


I started photography at the age of 17, shooting with a Canon EF. I learnt some of the necessary skills from books, but I’m mainly self-educated.

I got my first assignment from a local newspaper photographer, Juergen Engels, when I had just turned 18. I remember going into his office on March 31 and asking whether I could show him my work. Rather than wasting any time looking at my prints, he just gave me a role of Kodak Tri-X-Pan black-and-white film and told me to come back with some pictures in no more than two hours. The next day, on April 1st (believe it or not!) I had my first two images of weather features printed in the local paper.

I really enjoy shooting pictures of Alpine skiing races. You only have one chance to get it right, and you have to be spot on.

I don’t actually have any audience in mind when I take pictures. I just want to see the world with my own eyes and my own mind, and I don’t want to be dependent on other people’s views. I want to capture my own images – in every sense.

Always be calm and patient. You can’t force things. If you relax, things will just unfold in front of you, and you will be ready for them if you are not straining too hard.

Professionally, I have learnt a lot from my friend and mentor Diether Endlicher. The biggest lesson I learnt from him is that you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously.

Behind the Scenes

. Sochi, Russia
Reuters photographer Wolfgang Rattay poses for a picture in the Russian city of Sochi during coverage of the run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics.