Death is something that most humans are afraid of as it not only means the end of a life, but also signifies decay, rot and returning to the earth. In his photographs, Craig Schlewitz gives new life to the dead he captures, by presenting interesting juxtapositions with the living. However, his work is not always dark, as he captures stunning images by following his instincts and experimenting with light and different techniques managing to further showcase the beauty of the ever-present interaction between humanity and nature.
Portable: How did you get your start taking photos?
Craig Schlewitz: With disposable cameras when I was young. I had this fascination with aliens and I’d throw hubcaps in the air and tape things to windows and pretend they were flying saucers.
P: What is your creative process like?
Craig Schlewitz: It differs from photo to photo. Sometimes I start with vague ideas like an atmosphere I want to create or lighting that I want to capture and I’ll create a story around it. Other times I just photograph the places I’m at and the people I’m with and I end up creating something I enjoy. It’s all very instinctual.
P: Do you prefer shooting digital or film?
Craig Schlewitz: I shoot digital more often than not, but I have a lot of respect for film. It’s an entirely different world. Going through the process of taking the photos, developing them, and printing them gives you more appreciation towards the final outcome I think. There’s less room for mistakes so you become more careful with making pictures.
P: In your about me you mention that you are interested in “the juxtaposition of life and death, beauty and ugly, new and old.” What is it about these things that interests/inspires you?
Craig Schlewitz: I embrace things that some might find unpleasant or off-putting. There’s beauty and importance in death and decay, there’s ideas to think about and relate to. I enjoy displaying these ideas in a beautiful way – combining bones and freshly cut flowers, resting lifeless moths on someone’s hand. I just find it fascinating.
P: Your work ranges from portraits and photos of people to still life. Which one do you prefer photographing? Why photograph still life’s?
Craig Schlewitz: I wouldn’t say I prefer either. I don’t really look at my work and think “this one’s a portrait” or “this one’s a still life” etc. I think there are elements of both in many of my photos.
P: You seem to experiment a lot in your photos. Is there anything that you are looking forward to experimenting with? Any favorite new experiences in photo?
Craig Schlewitz: In terms of equipment, I’ve begun experimenting with large format photography and I quite like it. It’s an entirely different process from what I’m used to and it’s nice to learn different ways of creating photographs.
P: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Craig Schlewitz: I’d love to start collaborating more with other artists and creators. There are hints of fashion photography in some of my work and I’d like to experiment with taking that further.