Martin Schoeller’s Pivotal Career Boost

Martin Schoeller is an award-winning photographer who for many years was on staff with The New Yorker. And as he reminds this week, his ascension to that position owes a great deal to a certain Oscar-winning actress.

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In 1998, freelancer Schoeller counted just five assigned jobs – three of which were weddings. In 1999, the year he was hired by The New Yorker, that total would jump to 127.

Per Schoeller’s contribution to the Time Lightbox series “The Photo That Made Me,” it all changed for him after he was asked in 1998 to photograph Vanessa Redgrave for Time Out New York:

I had come across the Kino Fluorescent lighting system (a sort of fluorescent tube lighting) and started to incorporate it into my work. This started to change things: these lights really bring out a subject’s eyes. And because I had adopted the style of a super close-up portrait, my work started to stick out. Back then the mainstream thing to do was a more distanced shot with a perfect background and styling – and it was also a time when Photoshop was really becoming a big part of things.

Even though Schoeller had only 10 minutes to snap Redgrave, his street photography experience and natural instincts allowed him to capture her, stunningly. Since that time, Schoeller has photographed many more famous faces and relied, as needed ,on the super close-up technique .
 
[Sample Schoeller photo via: newyorker.com]