Artist: Jan Schlegel Title: Olekibo (13), Sure Tribe, Ethiopia Year: Edition: 10 Medium: Gelatin silver print, toned Size: 38.5 x 47 cm Misc: signed, titled, numbered
Jan C. Schlegel (1965) is born and raised in the Black Forest of Germany. He discovers his passion for photography at the age of 14. From the influence and counsel of Walter Schels and Toni Schneiders he begins to ascertain his fervor for black-and-white portraits. At 18 he is professionally trained in photography. He begins traveling throughout Asia and Africa with the objective of photographing diverse people groups and tribes in 2000. Through these experiences he develops a striking mode of capturing the beauty in these nations. He not only succeeds in creating artistic photographs, but also in documenting and preserving unique artworks - the people themselves.
The beholder has the opportunity to encounter foreign cultures and to gain insight in the realities of these people. The pictures´ compositions, the highly-contrasted play of light and shadow, the inner dynamics and the extraordinary perspectives open a gate to the unusual, and even to the foreign, which is becoming increasingly difficult to find. Schegel takes part in the race against globalization, fighting against that which threatens to change these cultures and rob them of their distinctiveness and individualism.
Schlegel´s developing technique is as rare and intimate as the subjects of his photography. The black and white photographs are taken with a 4x5 field camera on traditional film. They are not digitally edited, but enlarged on fiber base photographic paper. Afterwards each photographic print is partly toned in order to give each picture its special inner dynamics and depth.
Currently Schlegel works for the University of the Nations. He teaches courses in photography and takes students through Africa and Asia, mentoring them as they discover their own way of seeing. Thus far Schlegel has traveled to 61 countries and is still in pursuit of the beauty and diversity of the nations.