By Manna Zel
Creating together under the shared moniker STAN., still-life photographer Stephanie Dinkel and stylist Andrea Maurer are two women with one aesthetic identity. Between Andrea’s creative spirit and Stephanie’s subtle precision, the creative duo harmonically create a visual universe that bridges styling and photography alike. With roots in New York and Zurich, STAN.’s Zurich-based studio has produced creative work for brands like Sephora, Glossier, and Swarovski—and now, Youth To The People. Increasingly often, though, their Zurich studio shoots assignments from abroad, which Stephanie and Andrea describe to To The People as having the benefit of being both efficient and reducing the carbon footprint.
Here, STAN. shares about making magic together, what it was like working remotely with Team YTTP to shoot the 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum, and how energy unites them with the world.
Manna Zel: When did you first realize the two of you were a winning team? When was the moment it clicked for you that you were making magic together?
STAN: We have been brought together by our current Swiss agent to shoot for a client in the cosmetic field in Zurich. We immediately realized that we both have a very similar way of approaching things, which made the experience of working together very pleasant, especially because we often think so alike that almost no words are needed. Also in terms of our aesthetic and professional standards we are on the same page.
MZ: Tell us more about the process of establishing STAN, and the harmony, bond, and visual universe you’ve created since combining your expertise in 2019.
STAN: At the moment we are mainly working in the cosmetic field, but we are excited and open to see what else is to come and do personal and editorial projects whenever time allows.
We have a special flow whenever we work together, never stopping before we are both happy with the outcome. We complement each other wonderfully thanks to our different skills, and even if things are not as harmonious as they could be it does give our work a special note.
MZ: Your studio is based in Zurich but you shoot a lot of assignments from abroad. Tell us about how shooting at your studio is more efficient and reduces the carbon footprint. Why was it important to you to operate with the benefit of the environment in mind?
STAN: Today, as the current situation shows, it is no longer absolutely necessary to be in the same room to do a job together. Traveling can be draining and make you feel guilty, especially if you are flying long distances for a very short stay. The other plus side of shooting remotely is that we can take more time to finish a job, which often results in a better outcome, and shooting in our own studio makes us more efficient. We are extremely happy that our New York agent supports this idea and we have more and more clients who appreciate this approach. In the end, it's more pleasant for everyone involved—for us, the client, and also the environment. We like that fact.
MZ: What was it like working remotely with Team YTTP? Did you get to try out any product?
STAN: It was great, a wonderful job, a wonderful product. We love to work for sustainable brands and if the product is photogenic and good for your skin and the environment we love it even more :)
MZ: If your energy were visible to others, what would it look like? And how does that energy influence your work, especially as a creative duo?
SD: If my energy were visible, people would mainly feel it as sort of a heat wave, sometimes cooler and calmer, sometimes warmer and more dynamic. For me, both poles are essential in a creative process, and the two of us complement this energy in a very productive way.
AM: I see the visibility of my energy like water. Sometimes calm with very little waves, sometimes more fluid, tinted in different colors: green, pink, sometimes with glitter. Like watercolors that are mixed together. I am a rather calm person, but my mind is always on the move and I need creativity and versatility in my work.
MZ: Having roots in both New York and Zurich, how does your energy unite you with the world around you?
AM: I can’t say much to this question as my roots are mainly here in Switzerland. Due to our work and US clients I am getting to know the work methods in the US and feel more and more connected.
SD: I moved back to Zurich 4.5 years ago after living in NY for more than 9 years. New York is still a second home for me and even though I haven’t been there for almost a year, I still feel connected. The energy and the diversity of this city is unlike any other place, and I am grateful that I was able to dive into this madness... and feel that I took a lot of what I learned from this city back to Zurich.