A Third Is Photography, A Third Is Diplomacy, And A Third Is Politics

- - Photographers

Martin Schoeller talks with writer Charlie Fish (read more here) for a piece in Resource Magazine. Here’s a couple quotes:

“If you’re going to take a picture, really try to make it the best picture you’ve ever taken, every time. Always strive for the best you can do.” This level of professionalism requires that you live, breathe and eat photography, and that every step along the way is executed with great attention to—what else—the details. “If you want to be a photographer,” he advises, “Be a photographer ten hours a day instead of spending five hours retouching some half-ass picture you don’t like in the first place.”

Schoeller reveals, “If you want to do portraits, you have to be outgoing and be able to engage people. I always say a third is photography, a third is diplomacy, and a third is politics. By doing a lot of research and finding out what they have done in the recent past I know where their mind is at. I’m able to engage them in a conversation so they forget for a moment that they’re being photographed.” While this may be common practice to many photographers, Schoeller’s research manifests itself in another way. “I always play music that I think they might like, or remind them of their childhood. We always have a little stereo with us.”

There Are 11 Comments On This Article.

    • scott Rex Ely

      @chris floyd, That is a great and very challenging question. I’ve been thinking about it all weekend and the best I could come up with would be rock. Departing from there I’d have to say two songs come to mind, both classic rock, anchored by his previous employment with AL.

      Anyway, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band,”Blinded by the light” and the Door’s “People are strange” both for different reasons, seem appropriate to me.

      Again, great little mental exercise.

  1. I like these photographer quotes but always you have to be aware that these general advice stuff is usually just the artist talking about himself/his approach which works for him but not necesseraly for others.

    “paying attention to details” heard this a thousend times. surely true in a way but on the other hand isn’t the most common story also that of the best picture you have taken when you maybe have not paid so much attention, some coincidence happened etc.

    “have to be able to engage people”: theres so much differnt personalities in photographers . A lot of shy photographers and ones who dont talk much are among the ones who do really great people and portrait photography.

  2. The first paragraph reminded me of a feudal era Japan quote from Hagakure:

    “In the judgment of the elders, a samurai’s obstinacy should be excessive. A thing done with moderation may later be judged to be insufficient. I have heard that when one thinks he has gone too far, he will not have erred. This sort of rule should not be forgotten.”