Interview: Photographer Tom Schneider (Germany)
Can you tell us a little about you?
Hello, my name is Tom, I’m living near to Nuremberg, Germany with my wife.
Three adult kids go their own ways meanwhile and I’m proud of them.
I’m versatile interested in topics of human communications, especially in the spiritual, psychological and cultural aspects of life.
How and when did you get into photography?
I’ve got my first camera in the age of 13 years. Of course I had a lot of fun taking pictures, but looking back I would guess I wasn’t interested really seriously. For a couple of years it was a slowly approach to photography but about 10 years ago there was a chance buying my first DSLR and starting my first shootings. Being more a gift than a plan, it just happened to me.
Finally the growing number of requests, especially wedding and commercial shootings made a business registration necessary, but I never gave up my main profession in order to stay independent.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography means an unique gift to me, a kind of new approach to life, to see reality with new eyes in the full sense of the word. First I was interested in nature an landscape but it remained not long until I found out my real photographic interest: “Facing” People as a personal encounter and communication, finding out their unique character. As a photographer I do always both letting someone her/his secret in respect a n d eliciting it in the same time.
Finally I’m overwhelmed again and again by the trust und the discoveries getting visible and noticeable practicing this fascinating game of Seeing and being seen.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I do weddings and event jobs with pleasure, but my main focus are clearly portraits.
I’m a photographer first, not a retoucher and composer. That means I prefer a natural mood and way of photography. Many Pictures in my portfolio are mostly out of Cam. That means also that I refuse certain beauty manipulations and high end skin retouching. The essence of a picture is its ability to touch a visitors soul, to tell a story, to effort an emotion, a question.
It’s not the technical perfection I’m longing for but to catch a true and inspired moment.
I really like simplicity which is the opposite of superficiality. I like spatiality and therefore I use wide apertures the most.
Where do you get inspiration from?
There are several ways to get inspirations for me. First of all its necessary to face the world around with open eyes and openminded. There are inspirations every day outside.
Of course its inspiring to read good illustrated books of the Masters of Photography. But I have learnt the most by workshops and knowing inspiring photographers. Especially two great guys let me recognize the fundamental direction and focus of my photography: Jean Noir and Peter Müller.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Sometimes less, sometimes more. I know that’s a common idea, but I don’t think a perfect picture is a perfect copy and realization of your planning. Maybe in technical stuffs but not facing human beings. It more than just a rest, which is unpredictable. I try to work with the event and the process in order to feel the pulse. The power and magic of the moment is the gift, to give up a certain task of perfection is the price.
Studio, on location or both?
I had a little studio a couple of years ago, but actually I work just on location 90 %.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I guess in fact, I’m both, it’s not a contradiction in my opinion. To love pictures and the photography enthusiastic and to earn money with it. Spirit and professional skills belong together.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
There were a lot of remarkable sets, but I’ll never forget one session with a friend of mine which had breast cancer and asked me to take pictures. Nothing more to say, but behind all fear and pain there was such a light and a pure joy, which is to see and to feel looking at the pictures. This Moment told me something about the power and the worth of seeing people right und to recognize the inner beauty of every human being. .
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I use Nikon since the first beginning und I am happy with these Cameras. Actually I use the D850 and the Z6 the most. My favorite portrait lens is the Nikon 1,4 /105.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Have the courage to do that thing, what you really really want. Stop believing social medias tell any truth about that you have to do. Trust on face to face communication and networking.
What do you think of our new magazine?
Congrats to the idea and concept of your magazine. I appreciate a platform for creatives which is so transparent and aesthetic.