Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Schatz Photography Book Culls 1,100 Best Images from 4 Million


You have not truly seen the world until you have witnessed the illuminating photography of Howard Schatz. The internationally critically-acclaimed, award-winning photographer is one of the most prolific artists of his time. His new two-book set, Schatz Images: 25 Years, (Glitterati, June, 2015; www.schatzimages25years-glitterati.com) captures breathtaking images that will fascinate those who love original, cutting-edge photographs.

Perhaps Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter says it best: “Howard Schatz is so versatile that this volume at times seems like the work of a dozen photographers, Weegee, Avedon, Penn, Beaton, Newton, and Goude, among them. He has affection for his subjects—athletes, dancers, models, actors, pregnant moms, and interesting nobodies—and it shows in every remarkable image. Sometimes funny, often dramatic, he is a master both of the quiet portrait and the explosive surprise.”

Schatz’s work ranges from world-class athletes and dancers to actors acting and portraits of homeless people, from stunning images made in light and pattern to studies of pregnancy and newborns. There is no other photographer in the world who has explored such an enormous range of subject matter and no other book like Schatz Images: 25 Years. The elegant and luxurious two-book boxed set includes work from the course of the last 25 years. Each of the volumes is 12x12 inches, and together they contain 832 pages and 1083 original and sumptuous photographs. The beautifully bound set is stored in a custom slipcase, limited to 500 signed and numbered copies.

His work has been published in 20 books and exhibited in numerous galleries and museum exhibitions worldwide and is contained in innumerable private collections. His images are regularly featured in illustrious publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Time, Sport Illustrated, Vogue, GQ, and The New Yorker. Schatz has worked with such prominent clients as Ralph Lauren, Escada, Sergio, Nike, Reebok, Sony, and Mercedes-Benz, and he’s won nearly every award in his field.

Some of the subjects featured in the set include: Dance ,        Underwater Studies, Athletes, Fashion & Beauty, Actors, Models &Their Moms, Motion Studies, Botanical, Pregnancy, and Liquid Light Studies.

Prior to becoming a photographer as he neared age 50, the scientist-turned-artist was an internationally renowned ophthalmologist and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. 

This is the second book of Schatz's that I have helped to promote to the media, with the help of the PR firm that I work for. Getting to know his work is a tremendous honor.

Below is a Q and A with the legendary, masterful photographer:

1.    1.      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.

2.   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.

3.   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. 

4.   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.

5.   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.

6.   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.

7.   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 post-production. 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.

8.   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.

9.  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.

10. 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.

11  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.



     My son, who is just 10 years old, is always thinking of ways to express his creativity. He is curious about a lot of things. I want to encourage this. He recently set upon photography and put together this fast-paced slide show of photographs that he snapped off from the past two months. He would love for you to view his work, and if you feel so moved, to "like" it. The whole thing takes three minutes and I think is worth the time.  I hope you enjoy it: http://youtu.be/ZERbhc4yYE0 -- thank you.


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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