Rüdiger is a native Californian who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the oldest of three and he attended 6 different schools before settling down in Orinda in the 4th grade. Soon thereafter, his parents divorced. Subsequently, he spent weekends with his father in San Francisco and also spent a great deal of time with his Grandparents in Berkeley. To this day, he has an affinity for what he affectionately calls, “old people”. When asked about his parents and grandparents, he says, “My mother instilled in me responsibility and determination, my father gave me his creative and entrepreneurial spirit, and my grandparents provided guidance and opportunity.”
At age nine, Rüdiger’s father introduced him to sailing and he spent a lot of time braving the elements on the bay. In his early teens, his love of boats and the water led to his first professional aspiration which was to become a yacht designer. Rüdiger even taught himself how to do so. That desire soon evolved into architecture but after attending one drafting class at a Junior college Rüdiger quickly came to the conclusion that there were simply “too many rules” and abandoned that form of creative expression. He then attended the California College of the Arts in Oakland where he took classes across multiple disciplines including life-drawing, ceramics, typography, photography, product design, graphic design, creative writing and of course, art history. It wasn’t until his junior year that he finally discovered what he wanted to do. It was the year Apple burst onto the scene and between computer graphics, video and filmmaking classes, and Rüdiger decided he wanted to become a filmmaker. So he applied to some top film schools and hoped for the best.
After graduation, Rüdiger packed his bags and off to Hollywood he went. Armed with an acceptance letter and a lot of enthusiasm and naiveté, he proceeded to spend the next three years earning his Master’s degree at UCLA film school.
Upon graduation, it was time to “get a job”. Shortly thereafter he was offered a research position on a documentary project. This experience altered his course yet again and led to spending the better part of the next twenty-plus years making documentaries on a wide variety of subjects. He eventually co-founded a media production company and was, by all traditional methods of measurement, a successful filmmaker as he and his business partner produced millions of dollars worth of films and even won some awards along the way including a couple of Emmys. As a documentarian and business owner, Rüdiger not only became expert his craft but also learned why it’s called “show business” and not “show art”.
While he has been one of the fortunate ones who, after school, has been able to make a living being “creative”, Rüdiger spent the early part of his career working on what he calls, “other people’s projects”. In 2007 he decided it was time to turn the corner and focus on what he calls, “my projects”. He began by producing and directing a multi-media project entitled, “The Imagine It! Project” which explores the fascinating concept of imagination and creativity not only as it relates to art but to business and the future at large.
Since that time, he has made a few select films but what has re-emerged over the subsequent years is his love of photography.
Sir Terry Pratchett once said, “Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” That observation speaks directly to Rüdiger’s career. Case in point is his appreciation for story, history and the craft of cinema. As a college student, he never considered or even recognized how light and shadow evoke a sense of time, place and character. Thirty years of filmmaking experience has layered on a craftsman’s skill and an artist’s desire to create thought provoking still images that are imbued with a sense of drama. Rüdiger now aspires to create images that are essentially a “film in a frame” or a “painting with light” rather than a straightforward “representation of reality”.
Rüdiger finds that moving from the business of show business to the art world is both challenging and exciting. As such, referring to himself an artist is difficult. Rüdiger is not a fan of labels in general but if a label is required, he prefers craftsman, or artisan. He feels that having a well rounded education and career that has resulted in a knowledge base of esthetics, design and technical skills over an array of mediums, has been a blessing he is able to apply to his craft. One of Rüdiger’s favorite quotes is from Ansel Adams who he feels said it best, "You don't make a photograph with a camera. You bring to the act of photography, all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have love".
Rüdiger’s hope and desire as he moves forward is that both his motion pictures and still images help people see the world from a new perspective. That they open their minds, notice the unnoticed and experience the emotion brought forth by light and the details of the moment; that his point of view and the lens through which he focuses on the world around him, can have an impact on how others observe the world around them.
While Rüdiger still enjoys the collaborative nature of filmmaking and work on an occasional film, photography is now his medium of choice. Seeking a client’s approval and resources is no longer of concern and, as his belief, that has proven time and again over the course of his career, is the projects that turn out the best are the ones that are client-free. That said, he is the most discriminating client of all and when Rüdiger is the one who needs to approve the final product, that is often more difficult than any client ever could be.