Wolfgang Stocker photographing with Nikon

Wolfgang Stocker (wost) – A bit about me

Be aware before you continue to read, here you will find out more about me than you most likely want to know...

Hi, my name is Wolfgang Stocker. I’m a native Austrian, born in 1960 in the beautiful Styrian city Bad Aussee, right in the center of Austria. Klaus Maria Brandauer, world-famous Austrian
actor and film director (Mephisto, Nero, Quo Vadis? Out of Africa), the beautiful Ulla Weigerstorfer,
“Miss World” in 1987 and the great Austrian writer Barbara Frischmuth, they all were also
born in the same little town, right in the “Green Heart of Austria”, in Bad Aussee.
To be honest, having a common birthplace with these great people didn’t influence my life at all,
spiritual people might think very differently though. Nevertheless, I am very proud that I come

from this great place, which obviously is the source of so much artistic and poetic talent.
 Wolfgang Stocker skiing in Groebming, Steiermark, Austria in 1963
The early years 
Growing up, I lived my early years with my grandparents in Gröbming, a little village in the Ennstal in the Austrian state of Styria. My grandparents – “Opa” and “Oma” – took care of me like parents for the first years of my life. Even though life was tough in the sixties in this tiny mountain village, my grandparents gave me all I needed and most of all the love they had to give. Gröbming was and I think still is definitely one of the best places for kids to grow up. It’s living in the country, in the most beautiful country, I might add. Kids can be kids there, play outside without constant supervision. I remember leaving the house after breakfast in the morning and returning home not earlier than dinner time. The daylight was our timekeeper. What a life!
 Wolfgang Stocker in 1963
"Home base", boarding school and student room
When I turned 7, I had to move from my grandparents in Gröbming to my mom to Bischofshofen in the Austrian state of Salzburg. From a little very familiar village where everybody knew my name to a big town where I didn't know a soul. Even though it was only an hour car ride away, the separation from my grandfather gave me a long lasting heartache. My grandmother had died when I was 5, one more reason I wanted to stay with my Opa. But it just had been too much for him to take care of me also, next to his hard work and what life threw at him. Plus I had to go to school in the years to come and needed some supervision, I was told.

Bischofshofen became some kind of a “home base” for me, nothing more. Also due to the fact that I had been living far away from it, in boarding schools, like the “Evangelische Schülerheim” in Bad Goisern and came only "home" on some weekends or school vacation. From age 15 to 19 I lived in Bad Ischl, in a tiny student room, cared for myself and attended the local Commercial Academy where some very patient teachers endlessly tried to push some solid knowledge into my then not so receptive brain. Even though these were tough times for me, mostly alone and never "home", I still managed to make some good memories and great friends along the way. Until today my school towns in Upper Austria and people there are dear to my heart.
Becoming an "Austrian Abroad"
My adult and professional life brought me to Hallein, a great city south of Salzburg, very well known for its salt mine and its Celtic history. There I started my career as a newspaper editor and press photographer. In the 1990's I changed my field of work and jumped into marketing, classic and later online with e-commerce. In 2003 I moved to the USA and found my new home as an "Austrian Abroad" in Las Vegas/Nevada. I spent about ten years in “Sin City”, for sure one of the most exciting decades of my life. And no, I didn't gamble at all, not even once. In the following years, my journey led me to Florida, I always had a special feeling for this beautiful south-east state of the US. For some reason, I felt kind of home there. Even though I was missing the mountains and seasons at times, as a Floridian I appreciated the ocean and the hot-wet but very lovely weather all year around. There is nothing better than a walk at the beach with your camera ready when the sun rises or sets! Recently I came back to Europe, back to my roots. The past two decades of my life I lived like a wanderer, a nomade. Not my cup of tea but sometimes life makes you do things, I guess. Sometimes I do wonder where I finally will end up, who knows! For now its Austria and Italy.
 Wolfgang Stocker skiing 2015
I love what I do and do what I love – My recipe for happiness
I love what I do and I always try to do what I love. Sometimes it becomes a bit stressful since I love so many things. If I would have to name them, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Let’s cover some: Sports played always a major role in my life and so did photography. With the combination of it, I earned some of my income for many years. As an editor and press photographer with the focus also on sports, I had more than enough opportunities to enjoy my passion on a daily basis. I did what I loved and even got paid for it. I have thousands of film negatives, black and whites, slides and color prints in my photo archive, telling stories of the coolest sports competitions I had the pleasure to attend. It still makes me smile to think about all the amazing sport events I covered, also because there I met some of the world best and coolest athletes. World Cups and World Championships in alpine skiing, for example, World Championships in motorcycle, motocross tournaments, judo and wrestling tournaments, table tennis competitions, ski jumping events and so on. The list is almost endless. I’ve also photographed at the “Race across America” as a team member of an Austrian biker participating in the race in the nineties, one of the crazier experiences in my life.

Traveling and photography is my fun combo
Over the years I have developed a great passion for traveling. Maybe because it always comes with lots of great photo opportunities. I like talking to people, but prefer the ones, who really have something to say. Believe it or not, I like to talk about all kind of things, not only about photography. I am very interested in technology which by the way makes me spend way too much time in front of my laptop. I try to fix everything, I consider myself a DIY guy.

I also cook and bake. I don’t think I’m a great chef though, but I can prepare some cool meals from scratch. All thanks to my mom, who once really rocked in her own restaurant and absolutely knew how to culinary please her guests. What my mom didn’t teach me in the kitchen, my lovely school teacher in cooking class did. Believe it or not, I went for some years to cooking class, voluntarily but I admit, it was more for this beautiful girl than for the lesson. I would say I bake pretty well. A passion, I revived when moving to the US. In Las Vegas, I was missing “my Austrian bread” and some traditional cakes and cookies. Since I couldn’t buy them, I started to bake them. With that, I also began to bake cookies for Christmas, yummy cakes for birthdays or just some muffins or cupcakes for guests.

I love to laugh. Someone who can make me laugh has my full attention in seconds. A funny movie can clue me on a TV or lure me to a cinema. I have a great passion for American football and of course for soccer. I’m a true fan of Bavaria Munich/Germany since I hit a soccer ball myself for the first time, decades ago. There I’ve said it: I am a proud Austrian cheering for a German soccer team! Yes I know, kind of breaching the Austrian style but it's worth it, trust me! Soccer time is like Christmas once a week for me and when my Bavarians play I don't like to be disturbed. 

Friends were always important to me, they kind of replaced my family when I was gone from "home". With time friends became even more important. Even though they are spread out all over the world, I manage to stay in contact and keep them very close to my heart. When it comes to it, that’s all you have. 

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” – (Helen Keller)
Wolfgang Stocker with his German Shepherd Grace in 2009
 Wolfgang Stocker photographing in 2016
 Wolfgang Stocker in 2014
Wolfgang Stocker's photographing
Art fascinates me – Photography is my creative outlet
Art in every form fascinates me. Whenever I have the opportunity I love to go and see the work of the old master. To stand in front of the final sculptural masterpiece by Michelangelo, the “Last Pietà”, in the “Castello Sforzesco” in Milan/Italy, gave me goosebumps. Also to have seen the original “Last Supper” from Leonardo da Vinci in the monastery of “Santa Maria delle Grazie” in Milan/Italy was truly special. But it doesn’t have to be art on the level of these great legends to excite me. Over the years I became friends with some very talented artists, whose work just amazes me again and again. I wish I would have only a bit of their talent.

Sometimes you just have to capture the moment
Very early on in my life, I understood that sometimes you not only want but you strongly feel the need to capture a certain moment – in words and pictures. I think it was the reason I became a journalist and a press photographer. By the way: the acronym “WOST” (for WOlfgang STocker) comes from the time when I worked as an editor and press photographer. With "wost" I had to sign my articles and photos for the newspaper. It kind of stuck with me all these years, until today. It was a given to keep using it also for my photo work today and also for my website "WOSTPHOTO". I’ve taken countless photos over the years for papers and magazines and in all scopes of life. It was always my goal, not only to illustrate, but also to tell a story. Even though I quit working as a full-time editor and switched over into the marketing field, I have kept my love for photography and writing alive.

Wolfgang Stocker in 2016
I love technology, some even say I am a geek
Since I’m a real tech freak – I love every new gadget, like phones, tablets, smart TV or pc and laptop. I’m fascinated by everything which makes life better and more convenient. I am one of those people who never read instructions and rarely ask people for help. I know, I know… I trust the tech stuff I have set up around me. Like a navigation system. When driving by car in an unknown area I completely trust “Iris” my good friend inside my “Navigation System”. Even though she pisses me off at times when she wants me to make a U-turn on a highway or tells me to keep making a left into a lake. But the way I see it is: in 90 percent of all cases “Iris” does a great job, how much more could I possibly ask from her.

Since I am open for all new things, it was a given to also make the switch to digital photography, with all the pros and cons. It excited me to play on such a huge new playground. After all these years in the darkroom, developing my pictures during the night hours, digital photography seemed to be the break I always was hoping for. Taking pictures the way we do nowadays is a walk in the park comparing with the analog history as I remember it. I love the new technology even with all its faults. There are quite some of them and I have to admit, at times it’s even frustrating with “digital”. But still, the advantages are priceless at the end. I was a Nikon guy as a press photographer during the analog time, and now in the digital era, I am still loyal to the brand. Don’t ask me why I guess once Nikon always Nikon. The D 7000 and D7200 are the bodies of my choice for now. 

With digital photography, I discovered a different kind of love for photography and discovered the beauty of post-production. The fact that I can influence the outcome of a shoot long after it happened and can change it around as I please, is the ultimate fun for me. I’m fascinated by the possibilities I have today, using my captured moments in all kind of digital work, like composites for instance. With a little creativity, computer knowledge and the right software even simple photos become ART.

Wolfgang Stocker in 2014
 Wolfgang Stocker with Teddy
The world is very beautiful, you just have to see it
On my website “WOSTPHOTO“ I give you a little insight into what I’m doing with my photography. I look at the world from its beautiful side and try not only to capture but somehow “paint” the best moments with my Nikon. I’ve included a portfolio and a photo blog. The blog is not an examination of photography in general but a “light” way to show and share my photography. Things here on these sites will always change since I will always add new photos and posts. The photos you see are all taken by me and are all copyrighted, the posts you read are all exclusively written by me and no one else and of course, express only my opinion.

I hope you like what you see and if you do so come back any time for another visit. If you like, you can always get in touch with me via the comment area. Let me know some of your thoughts about the photos and stories or tell me about your experience on WOSTPHOTO. It will be always very much appreciated. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter  if you like.

Wolfgang Stocker