Chris Schoonover; a photographer, art director and a native of beautiful New York. His photography takes on such an amazing look, every image able of telling a story. Some are extremely simplistic while others become more and more complex the more you hone in. It’s extraordinary to state that he has only been a photographer since 2013 when he bought his first camera.
Name: Chris Schoonover
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Tell us a bit about your background and what got you in to photography and why.
I went to school for Advertising. After I graduated, I started working as a Web designer and front end developer. As I was working these jobs I started to get really into photography. I would travel and take photos every weekend. In August 2014 I left my job and started to pursue photography full time.
I got really into photography when Instagram came onto the scene. I really love the idea of being able to share photos with people. I would challenge myself to make better images than the last. Eventually I was spending so much time taking low-res photos with my phone, I decided to buy a professional camera. There were a series of unfortunate events at that point in my life and I needed something to keep my mind off of things. I was getting really great feedback from other Instagram users and that kind of positivity was what I needed. Eventually I started getting job offers that I wasn’t able to take, so I left my job to go after the thing I enjoyed doing most.
What would be your ideal medium to work with?
Currently, I am using both film and digital cameras. I carry a little 35mm point and shoot camera around in my pocket, but I mostly shoot digital. I would love to shoot film all the time, but it’s just not cost effective. I’m happy with the results I get from my digital shoots.
Your photography seems to bend from simplicity to complexity throughout your different series’. Is this something you try and work out before you go shooting, or does it just happen?
It’s different for every shoot. I try to plan as much as I can before every photo shoot, but there will always be some element I wasn’t expecting. For example, locations and styling don’t always look the way you thought they would. Or, the opposite happens, where an unexpected element comes into play like sailboats coming up behind the model while we’re shooting on a ferry. I can’t take credit for everything in my photos, and I plan as much as I can, but it’s important to see those things happening and know how to handle them. Photography is about curation for me. It’s about knowing what to include and exclude.
What are you working on at the moment?
One of my favorite projects is with my brother and it’s called “Wrestlers.” We’ve been shooting it since March of last year as part of the VSCO Artist Initiative. We’re hoping it will come out later this year in the form of a book and gallery show.
What equipment do you mainly shoot with?
The Canon 5D MkIII is my main camera. I usually use it with a set of Profoto strobes or a canon speed light. The Fuji x100s was my first camera. I use it mainly for travel and street photography. It’s light, has a great film look and makes taking photos really fun. The Yaschica t4 is the small 35mm film camera that I carry around in my pocket. Its easy to keep the Yaschica on me at all times. It’s really fun to use because it’s all automatic and it’s so sharp because of the zeiss lens.
One camera for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would say a film camera if they weren’t so pricey to run. Whatever the current version of the 5D Mk3 is, with a 24-105. The image quality is great and I love being able to go from wide angle right to zooming in to get small detail shots. The only thing I don’t like is the weight/size.