Monday, March 6, 2017

Photo Exhibition with Assaf Spiegler

Whisky is without a doubt the spirits that comes with the most passionate and enthusiastic group of people. All whisky enthusiasts love the iconic bottles, and have their own personal favorites, that they cherish above all.

Every single bottle and brand tells their own personal story, and bring back the memories of all those drams you have had, and the once you are dreaming of trying out.

That’s why we have decided to invite some of the truly amazing guys out there, who have taken their passion for whisky to the next level, and combines it with their passion for artwork, to showcase and create a platform for their stunning work.

We are very pleased to introduce you to; Assaf Spiegler from Switzerland

We hope you will enjoy his photos, as much as we do. Cheers




Interview with Assaf Spiegler

Please tell us a bit about how, why and for how long you have been into whisk(e)y?

The first whisky I can remember dates back to the end of the eighties, it was a Johnny Walker, and that experience didn't end well. Of course, it wasn't because of that particular whisky, I just wasn't ready for it. I promised myself that I would never have another whisky, and for many years, whisky simply wasn't of any interest to me. Then, around the year 2000, I got a whisky present for my birthday, a Caol Ila 12 yo. I was older (maybe a little wiser) and that whisky was a revelation to me. I couldn't believe how good and complex it was, and how different from the memories I had of my previous whisky encounter, and ever since that day, I have been into whisky.

I have always found photo and graphic art fascinating, but what or who inspired you to become a skilled photographer?  

I consider myself a keen amateur photographer. I have always liked photography, and have had the opportunity to work in the panoramic photography business for 15 years, a totally different photography but my photo skills are coming from there. Inspiration comes from every source possible, and I appreciate the work shared by other photographers on the internet, and particularly on social media. Instagram is also a big factor.

Almost every single photo I have seen from your portfolio, always have whisk(e)y as the main focus, but the surroundings is always carefully chosen, and absolutely stunning. How do you select these locations for your whisk(e)y landscape photos, and what are your favorite subjects for your still life whisk(e)y photos. Last but not least, why focus on whisk(e)y instead of say; landscapes or portraits?  

Whisky is one of my big passions. I like to drink whisky, I like to share whisky with friends, I like to talk about whisky, I like to read about whisky, I like to travel to whisky countries, I like to visit whisky destinations, I like to take pictures of distilleries and any whisky related subjects. I think the whiskey bottle embodies all that. From time to time I still like to shoot panoramas, and I am fascinated by ruins, abandoned buildings and everything that is broken, rusty and covered in dust. I still do landscape photography but since I started to visit whisky destinations, my main focus shifted to whisky related subjects, like distilleries, casks, stills and machinery. So, whenever I'm back home, I feel the need to recreate that incredible mood I have, when I'm in whiskyland and whisky bottles fits the job perfectly. I do appreciate whisky so much, that I feel the need to take pictures of it, always!

I know you like to travel a lot. When you are heading out, are you one of those guys who always carry their camera and a bottle of whisk(e)y around, always on the lookout for the perfect photo location or opportunity?

That is exactly who I am. Sometimes I push that to the limit: I'm invited to someone's house for dinner? I bring a bottle of whisky, just in case there's a nice spot for a whisky picture, of course, I share the whisky afterward. When I'm mountain hiking, my backpack always weighs twice as much as usual. My camera backpack is adjusted in order to fit a whisky bottle or two. I always have a bottle in the trunk of my car. I'm shooting whisky bottles, where people are usually taking selfies. Some of the most memorable memories of my vacations involve a whisky bottle, and a spectacular background.

I think every whisk(e)y enthusiasts have their own favorite bottle, when it comes to form and label design, what’s yours and why?

It really depends on the background of the picture. If I'm shooting at sunset I'd like to have a transparent glass bottle with less label on it, in order to let the light shine through the amber of the whisky. Usually, I try to take pictures of unopened bottles, and if that's not the case, a darker bottle or a green bottle comes in handy. I like Ardbeg’s bottle design a lot. It pairs well with any background.

I’m well aware, that it’s almost impossible to name a favorite whisk(e)y, because there are so many amazing ones out there, each representing their own style, and are unique in their own ways, but even though, I would like you to name some of your personal favorite whiskies, and tell us a bit about, from your perspective, what makes them amazing?

One of my all time favorites is Lagavulin 16. There is no other whisky that instantly takes me back to Scotland at the very first sip like Lagavulin does, it's my time-travel machine, my teleportation device. I close my eyes, I take a sip and I'm on the deck of the CalMac, approaching Port Ellen, peat smoke in the air, a sumptuous seafood dinner is on the way, and I am ready to enjoy the best time on Islay soil. All that and more in a single whisky dram! I get a similar experience when I drink some Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys like Four Roses Single Barrel or George T. Stagg, only this time it reminds me of endless afternoons exploring the quiet countryside along the Bourbon Trail, listening to bluegrass music, feeling completely free, enjoying life.

I'd also mention the few Port Ellen bottles I was able to put my hands on. I do not discriminate on whisky! I like them all, Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey, American Whiskey, (bourbon, rye or single malt), Japanese, European and Swiss Whisky too. I try to find reasons to appreciate any whisky in my glass, as much as I can. I'm always open to new experiences, and willing to try whiskies from less known distilleries, or from countries that are not really known for whisky production. There aren't whiskies that I don't really like, there's just a lot of whisky that I prefer.

Where can people find you, and more of your photo art?

I'm not really a social media guy, but I have to admit that I found my place on Instagram, where I can let the pictures do the talking, and enjoy the work of others. So, if you're interested in my photos, follow me on Instagram at @texosa

Photo By: Assaf Spiegler (All rights reserved)
Interview By: Hasse Berg

Other Artwork exhibitions on Son of Winston Churchill; Tore S. Sørensen