December 19, 2012

R. Schenck's interview

" I do know I want there to be a story for the viewer to continue playing out from where the image froze it. Also, the images need to be real looking with a level of detail that might inspire a viewer to want to touch it, to feel the textures." R. Schenck


R. Schenck at deviantART.

"MT Back"

Dear Ralph, could you tell us how did your passion for photography begin ?

I first started shooting models by take pictures at a fashion show. It went well and that lead to shooting fashion/modeling shots.

For me, the challenges model photography possessed were very fulfilling but it was when I meet that first special model that I found a true passion for the camera.

I still remember the first time I "saw" a finished picture through the viewfinder of a camera while I was shooting and the "high" it gave me.

Where did you learn your art ? Self taught or student ?...

Self taught. I worked in a commercial studio for 14 years before going out on my own. That first job gave many opportunities to develop my skills.

I currently enjoy my situation as a commercial photographer and do the art photography as a test bed for developing new ideas, and for undoing the brain damage of shooting too many product shots.

"Asia Ankle Bound"

How long could you be far from your camera ?

I handle a camera almost daily but it's not artistic work. I would prefer to shoot something artistic at least weekly, but because of a health issue I have been away for just over a year. It has been incredibly difficult seeing new shots in my mind and not be able to do anything about it.

I do "see" ideas in my head regularly and like to work them out to completion in my mind, but it is not as satisfying as working with a model. Ultimately, there is not much better than working together on an image and having new things come out that change and potentially improve upon the original concept you started with.

Living the same situation, you can imagine how I understand you... Anyway, who are your favorite photographers ?

Helmut Newton. He was my biggest influence.

Art Model Iris Dassault

"Iris Isolation"
Art Model Iris Dassault

How long did it take to find your own style ? Maybe more difficult, could you define it ?

I don't know that my style has been established. Refining the direction of the work is still on going.

I do know I want there to be a story for the viewer to continue playing out from where the image froze it.

Also, the images need to be real looking with a level of detail that might inspire a viewer to want to touch it, to feel the textures.

Many of my older work I plan to reshoot to accomplish this end, and in the process undoing some bad colorizing and other photoshop work done during an earlier lapse in judgement.

"Raven Beach"

"L Beach"

What message do you want to express through your work ?

I'd rather let the viewer come to their own conclusions.

One defining characteristic that I would always like to project is that the model is involved in it consensually. This applies primarily to my fetish/bondage oriented images. I have found "consentual" to be very difficult to accomplish, and in many cases have failed miserably.

"Raven Sand"

Art is so difficult ! But, watching your work, "miserably" seems a strong word... By the way, what is your process of creation ? Do you plan every details ?

I do like to plan shots out in great detail, but I know the model and I will be improvising and the details I worked out will only apply if I have someone lacking the skills to play out the role.

More than anything I like to collaborate. I feel fortunate to have had four muse's in the last 25 years that have inspired me to reach further into myself. I can only hope I will be fortunate to find at least one more during my career.

"Art T

How lucky you are ! You seem to have a preference for studio shootings ?

Mostly I like working in the studio so that I can "play" with the extensive lighting tools I have accumulated, The locations I like tend to be beaches or old buildings.

"Fabric 1"
Art Model Iris Dassault

Some words about your models ?

All the people I have been fortunate enough to work with have been great.

Models with a dance background are my first choice, especially a ballet/jazz background, but otherwise I want to work with a model that can visualize themselves playing the role I want to put them in.

I NEVER try to talk a model into doing a shot. If they don't see themselves in it, they don't do it.

Now, I understand why you collaborate with Iris Dassault. How do you feel at the end of a shoot ?

Usually I'm already thinking about ideas for the next shoot.

"Fabric 2"
Art Model Iris Dassault

Not tired ? And always creating !... Is there a challenge you're dreaming about ?

It seems like there are always some rough ideas rambling around in my subconscious. Something just pops up when I get close to a shoot and then I fill in the details.

When and where will be your next exhibition ?

No plans for one. Still need to settle my health issues first.

I wish you the best... Take care. Have you published a book ? In magazines ?

I have had ten's of thousands of images published, just not the artistic work. That might be changing in the next few months.

I had kept my work private between the model and myself as I have viewed it as being a work in progress. Over the years I haven't had time to do a coherent collection of images that could be shown. It was just this year that Iris Dassault told me about deviantART and talked me into showing there. That group of images is a 10-12 year accumulation showing the range of ideas I have worked on.

It's a good beginning. A message to send before we leave ?

I love this quote and find it speaks my thoughts all too well :

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever,
the goal is to create something that will." (Kassassin)

A wonderful quote I didn't know. Thanks a lot, I appreciate your so kind participation. Take care. And don't forget to rest !


R. Schenck ©

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