Interview #20: Nicole Schneider (2021)
“To See Is To Feel — To Feel Is To See” ／ Interview by Charles David Corbin
Nicole Schneider is a self-taught photographer based in Weil am Rhein, Germany, focusing on the small and hidden details in the natural world around her. Nicole processes many of her images as monochrome with a high-contrast, yet soft and ethereal minimalist style that is calming and rhythmic, much like the music that inspires her work.⠀
Here’s our interview with her.
CDC／Tell us about your background in photography and what role it plays in your life. Are you formally trained, or self-taught? Is photography a creative outlet or a vocation? How does it shape your daily, monthly and annual activities?
NS／I am a self-taught photographer that started photographing about two and a half years ago. It is a creative process and I am shooting or working on an edit nearly daily. It became an important and fixed component in my life. It all started with a little photo contest I did with my kids. We went out into nature and the idea was to capture beautiful things we find along our path. Flowers, trees, bark, stones, shadows, reflections, little hidden things. Because of this adventure I discovered my love and passion for photography.
CDC／Who or what are the major influences in your work? Who or what to do you look to for inspiration and how have those people and things shaped your identity as a photographer?
NS／All my work is influenced by music, rhythm and bass, melody, minor and major scales. Like a dance between light and shadows, brightness and darkness, contrasts, shades and depth. So each work has its own soundtrack and shows the feel, mood and message in its movement and character while leaving enough space for the viewers’ imagination.
Photography has changed how I see. It has awakened a different and stronger consciousness for the little things and for the beauty of simplicity and minimalism.
CDC／What drew you to abstract photography initially, and what it is about abstract photography that keeps you engaged, creative and producing?
NS／“Abstract” doesn’t want to represent “the exact reality”. It is more the play between the shades of black and white, colors, forms, designs and lines. It creates a structural picture. The abstract style gives me the greatest opportunity and space to see and show the world with different eyes. It gives me the freedom to transport mystery, questions, feelings and touch.
To make people stop for a moment, to make them wonder, to get a closer look, to leave questions, to cause a feeling is the greatest gift for me.
CDC／What type of photography equipment do you use and how does it shape your work? Do you feel you are limited by your equipment, or do the restrictions it imposes contribute to your style and encourage creativity?
NS／I have used a Canon EOS70D in the past and have now changed now to a Canon EOS 5D MARK IV plus Luminar for my editing work. I have never felt limited by my equipment. I use what I have and always get the results I want to create.
CDC／Tell us more about your photographic process “in the field”. How do you like to work? Do you plan your images meticulously, or do they happen organically?
NS／Most of my images are planned. An idea comes up and then I try to get the basis for this result with my camera. The process and editing work shapes and converts the idea. But sometimes it also happens that I browse through my pictures and pick one which could be interesting. Then I just let the editing flow and see where it leads me.
CDC／Tell us more about your photographic process “in the studio”. What role does processing play in your work? Do you print and exhibit your work, or do you only publish electronically? How do you feel the final medium informs your studio process?
NS／I print my images and I have exhibited my work twice. The first exhibition was accompanied by three DJs and a light-artist. The second exhibition at a record store is still open. Both shows are accompanied by music, a fact that makes me very happy.
By following Hintology I discovered a place where photography is shared in all its flavors, all its different styles and without any limits. I am grateful and honored to be part of this community of such talented artists. The amazing art shared, is an exceptional influence and inspiration for me and my work.
CDC／You process almost exclusively in monochrome. What do you find appealing in monochrome and why have you chosen to process in this way?
NS／Well, that’s just my personal taste. Monochrome gives me an amazing opportunity to deal with light and contrast. Two of the most important factors of my work. The object which is in focus, stands out and develops its largest possible effect and impact on the viewer. I love the room for gradations in a single color. Light in a very narrow frequency and small wavelength range invites me to experiment.
CDC／Your images are wonderfully minimalist, with many having a high-contrast style. Yet, they are soft and ethereal without being hard and graphical. How did you develop this style and what do you find compelling about it?
NS／I think the style found me! I can’t really explain it. I love the beauty of simplicity and minimalism, to express the maximum with the minimum. I try to highlight what caught my attention, like a small detail or a small section of a picture. I want to take the viewer with me into my world and show him what I discovered. It is like a language of its own, the speech of my soul. So that’s why “To See Is To Feel — To Feel Is To See”.
Nicole Schneider is a self-taught photographer based in Weil am Rhein, Germany, focusing on the small and hidden details in the natural world around her.
Nicole processes many of her images as monochrome with a high-contrast, yet soft and ethereal minimalist style that is calming and rhythmic, much like the music that inspires her work.⠀
Charles David Corbin.