Name: Jan C Schlegel
College: University of the Nations
Book: Paolo Roversi – Nudi
Movie: Lord of the Rings
Food: Sea Food or Sushi
Quote: not really one
For how long have been in photography? How did you start? Where do you find inspiration? Well I feel like I was born with a camera and was always taking pictures, even as a kid. I got trained in photography when I was 20. I started shooting for some major fashion brands with 22. Back then I was working on only commercial and somehow I lost my passion for photography a bit. I realised, photography is only fun when you can choose what you want to take pictures of. About 15 years later I discovered the more artistic side of photography. That really attracted me because I felt I am free to create and to show something to the world that was meaningful. I started travelling to the tribes of Africa and Asia and was trying to show them to the world in a powerful and captivating way. I only knew pictures of Africa that shoed poverty, thats not what I wanted When I went there the first time I was impressed by their beauty and dignity they were wearing. Thats what I wanted to show… It took me about 2 to 3 years of leaning I how could show that. First my pictures were like all the others, poor children looking up to the camera…. thats not what I wanted. Also I needed to develop not only my photography style, but also the technical aspects of it. I ended up with taking pictures with a analog 4×5 inch large format camera, taking a mobile studio with backdrop and lighting to Africa and Aisa… and then of course after developing the pictures in my darkroom the special selective toning.
Inspiration I find when I see something beautiful that I want to show. Like the tribes, or in general people. But of course there are photographers that inspire me, like Nadar, Irvin Penn, Richard Avedon all those amazing photographers that impacted society with their amazing pictures.
Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life today? Propably Paolo Roversi, Cathleen Naundorf and Anne Leibovitz
What for you is the most enjoyable part of your photography? Taking the pictures! I love taking pictures. The moment when you look at the ground glass of your camera and you already can see the picture and then you know you just burned it on film for many others to see. There is also something magical, and I love that part too, when you develop your pictures and you see the image slowly appear in the developer tray.
Is Brainstorming not the only creative method use to create new concepts? I am not really brainstorming with anyone about concepts. They simply emerge when I see something thats captivating me. For me photography is like a language that I am using to show or explain something. A picture is maybe a sentence and the concept the book.
Please could you tell us about photography and digital technology? There is no digital process involved, no photoshop or file at all. Nothing is manipulated. It’s all on b&w film and then the picture itself on traditional silver gelatine paper. All pictures are developed by myself and afterwards in a many hours process, the skin and hair brown toned. This is a manual process where you apply the cemicals for toning only at the areas of the picture you want to become brown. This process takes about 6 to 8 hours for each single print. This makes each print unique because it turns out differently with each single print.
What type of camera do you use most? I only use my 4×5 wooden field camera. It’s a Ebony SV45Ti.
What is your favorite lens? I own several lenes for my 4×5 camera but 99% of my pictures are taken with my Schneider Super Symmar XL Apo 150mm. I think thats the sharpest lens on planet eart.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why? Well, I dont really have assignments. I choose what I want to photograph. But one of my favorit photo shoots was the one with the warrior carrying the crocodile on his shoulder. It was just the entire situation. Biwa the warrior came back from the river carrying the crocodile. I was already late in the afternoon an the light was perfect but I knew I only would have about 1 hour until it is to dark. Someone made a little video clip of that amazing photo shoot, just have a look: https://youtu.be/QRox45b-9q8
What are your favourite three images you have shot recently? Hard to say, but I really like those 3:
Those are out of my series „Essence“ which is also availabe as a book now.
Currently I am working on a series called „the tribes of our generation“ and these are my favoites of that series:
How important is an awesome website for your business? Very important!
What’s the most important quality a photographer needs to have? I believe photography has a lot to do with your character. It’s not so much talent it smore how patient you are, how much willingness you have to suffer in order to get your pictures, how willing you are to repeat and do it again, how honest you are… I believe in the picture you see a refection of the character of the photographer. People will see how you see a person, what you see in a person…
Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction? All!
List of your clients? I only have collectors, not really clients. I want to go back into fashion photography, but with my own style. I am particular interested in shooting haute couture.
Who are the photographer’s you admire the most? I mentioned them before: Paolo Roversi, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Cathleen Naundorf….
What are your next projects? Hope to start a series about haut couture, especially I am interested in Dior, YSL or Chanel.
Define Klassik Magazine for the audience? Awesome!