Sehr exklusiv ist dieser Bildband, der diesen Mai in den Handel kommt: „Schatz Images: 25 Years“.
Das aus zwei Bänden bestehende Set, aufbewahrt in einem edlen Schuber, zeigt 1083 Bilder des Fotografen Howard Schatz. Sie sind das Ergebnis der letzten 25 Jahre und bieten eine so weite thematische Bandbreite, dass Graydon Carter (Vanity Fair) hierzu meint: „[T]his volume at times seems like the work of a dozen photographers, Weegee, Avedon, Penn, Beaton, Newton, and Goude, among them.“
Der Mann fürs Auge
Dabei begann die Fotografenkarriere von Howard Schatz vergleichsweise spät. Lange arbeitete er als angesehener Augenspezialist in San Francisco, kehrte diesem Lebensabschnitt nach 23 Jahren dann den Rücken zu, um in New York eine Auszeit als Fotograf zu nehmen. Und ist mit großem Erfolg dabei geblieben. Seine Bilder erschienen seither in den bekanntesten Zeitungen und Magazinen, hierunter Sports Illustrated, Time, GQ, Vogue, Forbes und Elle. Schatz arbeitete zudem für Ralph Lauren, Mercedes-Benz und Escada und durfte Stars wie Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Davd Beckham und Muhammed Ali ablichten.
„Schatz Images: 25 Years“ wurde bereits mit einem internationalen Buchpreis ausgezeichnet und wird am 15. Mai bei Glitterati Inc. erscheinen. Es handelt sich um eine limitierte Sammleredition, mit nur 500 signierten Kopien. Der stolze Preis von 500 US-Dollar ist schon jetzt großen Preisschwankungen ausgesetzt, so kostete das Buch auf der deutschen Seite von Amazon zeitweise über 700 Euro.
Q & A mit Howard Schatz
The pair of books that make up the retrospective cover an array of topics, from Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes to portraits of homeless people and studies of pregnancy. Which subject matter proved to be the most challenging but rewarding to shoot? Why? Every project I did was an exploration, a treasure hunt. I photograph to surprise and delight myself. I am looking for wonder. I worked creatively to capture something special in every subject. Finding something I had never seen before was my bar, the metric by which I would judge my work. The hard work we put into the creative process is a marvelous journey that brings great satisfaction and joy.
To what do you attribute your success of generating amazing images that capture the human spirit, a feeling, or a moment? I am interested in people, motion, and the human body; in dance, sports, as well as the veracity of a great face. I think my curiosity and passion to find things I hadn’t seen before informed the finding and making of these images.
A large number of famous actors and award-winning actresses came to your studio and you were able to direct them in a one-on-one improvisation, allowing them to create a whole range of characters for your camera. How did Michael Douglas, Colin Firth, Jane Lynch, Sissy Spacek among a hundred others come to participate in this project? I initially did an interview with each actor about ideas and creativity. The long interview allowed each actor to become comfortable with me as a director, so that when we worked on the character improvisations, they really gave it their all. I asked each actor to use his/her imagination –as well as his/her bodies and voice — to develop each character. They then worked hard, improvisationally and extemporaneously to make images that were fantastic.
Who or what influences your work? I collect photography books and have bought any book in which there was some idea that inspired me. And, we are all inspired by everything in life – by conversation, film, and art as well as books.
Do you set out to capture iconic images on every shoot? What is it that you strive to achieve? It is a treasure hunt. I set up my studio in such a way that I am open to anything that happens. There is no ultra-control of things, I let ideas flow freely, coming in and out – I’m willing to try anything. This is the creative process; it is not a preconceived notion that I am trying to get but rather an idea I wish to explore. I talk about the creative tree: one climbs the tree and sometimes goes out on a branch that seems promising, but it cracks and one falls to the ground. But the grass is soft, so one gets right back up on the tree trunk and finds another branch. Occasionally, there is a branch with many pieces of fruit to pick. We look for these gold veins, we look for these things that happen in the studio that seem to yield magic and wonder and surprise and rapture.
One of your trademark approaches is to distort your subject. You seem to get close up and make parts of your subject look larger and out of proportion. Why? Sometimes I want to emphasize something and will place the camera and use a lens in such a way to emphasize or diminish specific characteristics. I am interested in motion and use both stroboscopic flash as well as ambient available light and leave the camera open to see what happens over the course of time rather than shooting a picture every time at one 1000th of the second. This is the study of a particular kind of motion and I apply it to dance and sports. I find it extremely fascinating and interesting; it seems that almost every picture comes out differently. Always a surprise.
How do you go about making images that surprise us? My goal is to make pictures that are surprising to me. I am looking for that which is wondrous for me. Casting is also very important in photography; I need subjects that can follow directions. A photograph is as good as its weakest part, and therefore having great subjects for whatever idea is being photographed is essential.
B & W or color? How do you know when to use which and for what effect? Black-and-white leaves more to the imagination than color. Color is more literal. Nowadays we shoot everything in color and if I feel an image would be stronger in black-and-white, I simply convert it in postproduction. Today, technology allows anyone to make a pretty good picture. But to make a picture that’s spectacular, rare, unique, magnificent, fantastic and long-lasting is extremely difficult and takes great effort, generally a fair amount of experience, certainly tremendously hard work and a great amount of luck.
Howard, you left behind a successful career as a world-renowned retina specialist to turn your eye towards photography. In either role, were you seeking to heal us, to help us to see things in a better way? In medicine it is important to get it exactly right, but in art it’s often about making mistakes. The two are very different. In medicine, it’s important not to take chances, not to get wild and creative; but in art it is very important to take chances and to go into the unknown. Medicine has taught me a great deal. I’ve learned to make strangers comfortable as I did with my patients. Medicine taught me to study things scientifically, which I applied when learning various technical challenges in the studio. The two seem to overlap in many ways, but they are mostly extremely different.
You have photographed prisoners and club-goers, fashion models, and Cirque Du Soleil, and featured the brutality of boxing alongside the innocence of cherubic babies. How do you reconcile your divergent, sometimes conflicting tastes for subjects? I am interested in everybody and everything. I am as interested in great successes as I am the opposite. I have done many projects searching to learn something about humanity.
Why is the human body an inexhaustible source of interest to you? There are so many ways of seeing the body, of capturing images of the body, of doing things with my camera and lighting with great bodies. I want to continue to do this as I feel that although I am way beyond just touching the surface, there still is a long way to go.
Your chapter on body knots is unreal. Tell us what went into that. I was photographing dance one day when the dancers were together resting after some trampoline work. They were very comfortable with each other, holding each other close. I had a wide angle lens in my hand, and I came in close to look at them and I saw something I had never seen. This is something that only bodies can make: a sculpture of form. I began to study the body knots generally with pairs of dancers. The project was fascinating and fun.
Fotos und Interview via Media Connect