Photographer Jo Schwab !JoSchwab
from Berlin has been on dA for the past three years. He is a very accomplished portrait photographer and his gallery shows a variety of portraits of women, in the "nude portrait" genre. He has received two DDs for "Olga" :thumb127298924: and for "Anesja" :thumb59689334: the latter a particularly stunning colour portrait of a black model. Jo has many fans and countless imitators but no one quite manages to match his uncanny ability to capture the undefinable.
Some of his best work is to be seen only on his website [link]
where he shows greater versatility than in the work posted in his dA gallery.
I have asked Jo a few questions. This is our first interview in a long time. Our "60 seconds interview with..." are meant to be short and to the point.
Send me a note if you would like to be interviewed or have suggestions for an interview.
Dont forget to fav the news item if you liked this interview [link]
and leave a comment.Q. Tell us a little about yourself: where do you live, where did you grow up?
I`m living in Berlin together with my wonderful wife Minon and two cats...Lucy & Lilly. I was born in a small town near Frankfurt/Germany, where my father leads a private psychiatric sanatorium. Some years later we migrated to Rome/Italy, where I had the best days of my childhood.
:thumb165472259: :thumb164789105:Q.When did you start taking photographs?
I was about 14 years old, when I saw the movie „Apocalypse Now“ and my uncle gave me the old nikon f2 camera which belonged to my grandfather. Instantaneously my life changed and I decided that I wanted to become a freaked out photographer like Dennis Hopper. Never again did I consider doing anything else.
:thumb193024162::thumb141954869:Q. Do you use film or are you a digital man?What cameras do you use?
Honestly I don`t care much about the technical part of photography. You can make the best images with the poorest camera and the worst images with a 100.000$ equipment. But working analog has something much more sensual. The whole analog workflow forces you to a much more elaborate and sophisticated way of working. In general I like to work with medium format analog cameras, mostly with my old Mamiya RZ67 but of course I also use digital cameras.
:thumb61762762::thumb150147677:Q. Are you a professional photographer i.e. do you make a living out of your photography?
Yes. I studied Photography from 1993-1996 and after a period as an assistant, I started to work for magazines, agencies etc.
:thumb58921396::thumb58919919:When did you join dA and why?are you actively involved with any group?
About 3 years ago. dA is a place where I can see if what i`m doing is working and how people react to my images. I love the controversial reactions and even the stupid comments, they show me how people perceive my photographs and how perception works. It`s a kind of monitoring for me, to check if i`m on the right path with what i`m doing.
:thumb58092503::thumb58092186: Q. Do you only take portraits (clothed and nude) ?Self portraits?
I`m nearly only interested in portraits. I`m obsessed by female beauty and human variety.
:thumb58263947::thumb58099314:Q. Who has been your inspiration?
First of all...Richard Avedon. But there are a lot of photographers I really admire... such as Jim Goldberg, Larry Clark, Irving Penn, Erwin Olaf, Araki...
:thumb58296935::thumb58094279:Q. How do you work with your models? Who are they?
I can only get what I want when there is a sort of intimacy and confidence between me and the person in front of my camera. I think this is one of the most essential things. So that I can get to them, to the expression they make, so that they are free to do or express something which is the way I feel.
This is also the reason why I mostly prefer working alone, without a throng of people like assistants, makeup-artist etc. around me. My first basic task as a photographer is to let my models feel save and comfortable.
I find them anywhere or they find me. I don`t really know who they are. I believe that a photographic image in itself is always something superficial and has not the ability to show something objective about someone's personality. I can do things to emphazise what I want to show but in the end it`s always up to the beholder and his subjective interpretation. I do not believe that something 'reports' itself in a photograph. It is redrawn; it is something I am saying, as a photographer.
:thumb58969909::thumb58920546: Q. Do you have a muse? Do you believe there is such a thing as a muse?
A muse is something essential. My wife Minon is my muse, she is always my muse for reflecting on ideas but I hardly ever take pictures of her for my work ( [link]
) Q. Studio or location?
Mostly studio. I hate it when I have to work under improvised circumstances, where I have to think about incidental things like background, light etc.
:thumb59144951::thumb59796590: Q.Postprocessing : how much retouching will you do?
Of course I`m doing some retouching and I`m not the sort of „out-of-the-box“ purist. I have a precise idea of what I want and every tool that helps me to get it is fine for me. But retouching is a very delicate thing...if it`s not perfect, it can destroy everything. Q. What is your artistic philosophy?
Everything that is able to communicate emotion, is art. Failed art when it bores.
:thumb58918922::thumb59144439: Q. What do you regard as your best work?
It changes often. I`m quickly sick of my own work but if an image is touching me even after years, I think it`s a good one.
:thumb64875239::thumb99529525:Q. Anything you would like to say to someone who is just beginning?
Love what you do, put your heart in it and you will be rewarded.
Thank you Jo!