Photographer of Dreams
There are times in this fashionable adventure that I feel really happy of what I am doing, and one of the things that makes my day and my blog is to meet the people I admire and not only meeting them, finding out that they are not only talented but that they can be just adorable. This week I had the pleasure to visit Kristian Shculler a photographer whose work I really love, I was a little nervous because this is a new phase of my blog, meeting up close with the different people I am interested in and making a more detailed post almost like an article, letting you get an insiders’ look to their world and their inspiration, through pictures and words. I was so relieved and happy from the moment I went in the door of the studio when Phillip Palaus, Kristian’s assistant (who’s is also a talent in the rise, you can check his site here) who was very welcoming to me and offered one the best cappuccinos as I waited to do the interview.
It is the first time I actually went to the personal studio of a photographer, I have been to Pin-up but that is less persona it is more serial and cold, it is nice to feel the individual touch.
A few minutes later Kristian comes down with his vivacious personality to greet me and give me a small tour of his studio, showing me proudly the pictures he recently acquired from his teacher and mentor F.C. Gundlach, pictures from the 1950’s that were amazing indeed. After we went upstairs where he presented me to his very talented wife Peggy (She is in charge of the styling and clothes of most of his amazing shoots including everything featured on his book « 90 days, one dream »), she was arranging the different boards with sketches and pictures to create each one of the dresses that appeared in several projects, among them many of the shoots of Schuller. A dream team made in heaven.
As we started the interview Kristian gave me some insights from his origins in Rumania where he grew up as the son of theater manager, the experience of travelling with his father and being close to the theater world was one of the things that inspired his love for beauty, glamour and women.
The epiphany that conducted his dreams into fashion came when he saw a vintage picture of Richard Avedon (Carmen Homage to Munkacsi), “when I fist saw it, I knew that I wanted to dedicate to fashion when I grow up”.
He went to study fashion design with Viviane Westwood at the Academy of Fine arts in Germany where he also studied photography with Gundlach. At the beginning his main concentration was fashion design but he always had a camera in his hand.
Camera that he took to his internship with Westwood and while working there took pictures of the shows backstage and the runway, opening the way to photography through photojournalism, he worked several years for magazines covering fashion weeks in Paris until he decided he wanted to create his own photos, his own world
So even though he graduated with a major in Fashion, Schuller ended up in photography.
Schuller’s style is quite unique, it is a staged dream of color, movement and fantasy which I believe diferentiates him from many photographers in the last years, that are more minimal in their work. Once you know Schuller’s style you will recognize it.
When I asked him what inspired him to create this unique style?
He answered spontaneously and excited, “I just can’t help it, I admire photographers that are able to stay simple and sober, but I just can’t I want to see things in different places, it is the way I am. There is part of me that simply loves fantasy and color, because I grew up in country where those things where lacking, I just want them in my creations”
In his latest book « 90 Days, one dream » we can clearly identify his trademark style, a book created with the idea of Heidi Klum using amateur models, and having a different picture every day for three months. All the amazing styling was made by his wife Peggy, who created many, dresses just for the book.
A roadshow book that had many scenes inspired on the circus, was created day by day between sketches, ideas of dresses and locations, sometimes there was first the idea of a location and story and sometimes a dress that would become a story, like the « Butterfly Dress » that you can see in the post, also in the pictures you can appreciate the sketch made for that image.
Kristian has taken inspiration from many classic photographers of the first half of the 20th century, he made me discover many iconic photographers like Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Munkacsi, Belmondo, who’s strength have influenced his work in different ways.
As for his point of view where fashion photography is today, he accepts it is moving really fast and video is taking an important role, as a photographer to succeed in the following years you have to master video in some way, but he still believes that still shots will always keep their strength through time.
His last advice to all of those getting into fashion photography, “Just go for it, don’t give up” 🙂 , indeed for experience I agree!
So here you had a little close up to a dreamers world, I want to dedicate this post to Olaf Hajek who is a very dear friend of Kristian and helped me contact him (You can see his illustrations all over the second floor and in some of the pictures I am posting). And of course a very big thank you and hug to Kristian for opening the door of his studio and the amazing souvenir he left me with not only with the amazing portrait but just being his adorable self. Hopefully soon we may have a close up to a photo-shoot… Will see .