How a Major Banker Chose to Be a Modest Photographer

photographer holding camera in field

While often exciting, incredibly fun and creatively fulfilling, a career in photography has rarely been called a lucrative path to escaping serious work. To some individuals, this doesn’t matter though.

For these people, a career change can become a calling even if money or fame isn’t promised along the way. This is what Christian Bluhm, the (now former) chief risk officer at the giant international investment bank UBS presumably decided when he left his career to take up photography.

 Just recently, Bluhm announced his unorthodox career change and has already started making plans for a new studio and gallery for his work. Both are to reportedly be opened where he’s based, the Swiss capital Zurich, which also happens to be the headquarters of UBS.

To promote his work, Bluhm has also launched a website in which he primarily showcases his landscape, urban, macro, cultural and even wildlife photos.

In Bluhm’s case, the photographer has clearly been enjoying his photography pretty intensely on at least a semi-professional level.

What’s more, given his previous well-paid career and his ability to open both a gallery and a new studio so quickly, he presumably has the financial means to pursue his passion with heavy resource investment.

Despite this, he’s no less subject to competition and guesswork than anyone else, and a look around his site shows that he casts a wide net on themes and subjects. This is common when still discovering interests, or exploring what brings in the most public attention.

Bluhm’s academic training is in mathematics and his career as a risk officer at a major multinational bank certainly reflects a need for major mathematical analysis. Despite this, he claims it was an initial foray into using a cheap DSLR camera that sparked his love of photography.

According to the photographer, “What truly changed my perception on photography was spending an evening with a friend from Vienna — an experienced photographer — who showed me how to manually adjust my low-budget camera to get a clear photo of the Big Dipper star constellation in the night sky,”

This sparked his “never-ending journey” into professional photography.

The bottom line here is that for any would-be photographers out there who’ve felt that unique spark from a chance meeting with their first lens, previous career choices and years in a completely unrelated field need not be mental barriers to taking this new interest seriously.

The world of photographic legends also has its share of unlikely people turned photographers. One particularly notable example is none other than the exceptionally famous Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado.

Even within Bluhm’s own world of banking, he’s not alone. A Bank of America Merril Lynch acquisitions adviser named Matthew Greenburgh also quit banking and securities trading in 2010 to become a pro photographer, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Not everyone who gets bitten by the shutterbug might have quite the resources to get started with a major splash as a former corporate executive might, but that doesn’t need to be an obstacle to developing an eye for capturing “decisive moments”.

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Shotkit Journalist, Writer & Reviewer

Stephan Jukic is a technology and photography journalist and experimental photographer who spends his time living in both Canada and Mexico. He loves cross-cultural street photo exploration and creating fine art photo compositions.

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