"I needed to understand why I see the world the way I do, what is important to me, what fascinates me, where I find inspiration, what I want to show the world, and why… I realized that photography or taking pictures is not my goal, it is simply a tool. I don’t want to just create photographs, I want to create feelings, emotions. I want to impact the viewer. That is much more meaningful and needed today. "

Jan C. Schlegel


Fascinated by photography since the age of 14, Jan C. Schlegel has sharpened his style and technique both in-camera and in the darkroom under the mentorship of Walter Schels and Toni Schneiders. Since his first travels throughout Asia in 1998, he has visited over 61 countries with the goal of documenting his encounters and preserving humanity’s most important patrimony: the people. Scouting his models in random places such as the market, the village or even the roadsides, he takes their picture as they are, on the spot, excluding any special outfit or make-up. Using an Ebony SV45 Ti camera as his mean of communication, he simply places them in from of a grey background in order to drive the attention on the personality rather than the environment. No matter where they were shot, Schlegel’s portraits highlight the uniqueness of the human standing in front of him while paradoxically removing the distance one feels when facing a stranger. Magnified in the darkroom rather than digitally retouched, his images are partially toned using an intricate technique resulting in this highly contrasted photographs which are instantly identifiable.

Applying the same principles to all living entities, Schlegel set his eye on creatures foreign to our understanding: tiny insects, sea creatures, reptiles, etc. Whether it be fear induced, size related or simply due to a different habitat than ours, the distance between us is taken away by Schlegel’s close-up shots, hence allowing the viewer to perceive the amazing beauty and detail that don’t normally see. Additionally, the choice for platinum printing highlights the artist’s will to raise the subject’s status as nature’s work of art. Indeed, platinum prints are extremely rare and valuable; their stability is such that this photographic process is considered as the most durable of all. Additionally, alike Irving Penn, Schlegel adds Iridium to the sensitizer in order to enrich the tonality and depth of his prints. Since these emulsions are mixed and coated by hand by the artist, each photographs possesses its own characteristics and is therefore unique.

Since his first exhibition at Paris Photo in 2007, Jan C. Schlegel has made a name for himself and is today internationally recognized for his timeless portraits and unique technical mastery. Finalist of the Hasselblad Masters Award, winner of the AGFA competition, his photographs are collected worldwide.