Lesson 2

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    The photographer that has had an impact on myself as an artist is without a doubt Howard Schatz. I found out that twenty years ago, he was an ophthalmologist with a successful practice in San Francisco and a professorship at the UCSF Medical Center. Now, at the age of 67, he is in the full flowering of a second career. He started experimenting with underwater photography in 1992. He became inspired to photograph ballet dancers after his friend, who happened to be dancer posed in his underwater studio. Schatz was fascinated by the way the body moves in water, he was also intrigued by how light interacts with water. Early on, he discovered how to adjust the water’s pH so it wouldn’t sting models’ eyes, and he vaporizes the chlorine from the water on shoot days. He also learned to light the set so that skin colors appear warm rather than blue.

    With seventeen books of photographs to his credit, Schatz’s artistic work includes studies of dancers, athletes, portraiture, and a world of underwater imagery, different from anything ever seen. His work is exhibited in museums and photo galleries worldwide. His editorial work has been published in international magazines such as Time, Sports Illustrated, Vogue, GQ Italia, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Stern, Life, Black/White, American Photo, Photo France, and Photo Italia. His work has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, NPR, Fox Sports Network, the Discovery Channel and widely in Europe. It is also important to mention that he has made images for such advertising clients as Escada, Sergio Tacchini, Nike, Reebok, Wolford, Etienne Aigner, Sony, Adidas, Finlandia Vodka, MGM Grand Hotel, Virgin Records, Pantene, and Mercedes-Benz.

    A set of work he created which is of particular importance to me is his dance collection because I have being involved with dance for more than 15 years and when I saw his pictures I was impressed by the way he manages to capture the fluent movements and technique of a dancer and the dancer’s body strength. His work is very realistic and it is done in a creative non-conventional way. His action photography expresses an inspiring sense of freedom and body lightness. Within his work, the most important theme for me is action. He captures action from swimmers, dancers, athletes and even cirque du soleil artists. He has great skill and vision for this particular theme. I also admire the way he manages color in every composition.

    With him as a role model, we could start searching for other photographic surroundings else than conventional indoor/outdoor places. How about taking pictures of exotic plants and animals instead of the same old cute flower/puppy pictures? Or perhaps we could make a spontaneous backstage photoshoot at an event instead of the traditional posed pictures? The possibilities are endless, I think we just have to explore them and bring out our inner artist. “Thinking out of the box” is probably the key for this.

    I aspire to some day be able to find my truly distinctive aptitude in the photographic field just like Shatz did with his unique talent.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Thank you for sharing. That was incredibly interesting to read.

    I want you to watch one short film by Floria Floria Sigismondi. She directed a short film entitled “post mortem bliss”. The underwater footage is (although less ambitious) very beautiful and unique.


    I though you might find a little inspiration in this!

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