Why do I do what I do ?
I have always felt my existence on earth was to entertain and make people people laugh. As a kid, I always wanted to be a Game Show Host. Always fascinated with door number 3. Maybe something happier than the sure thing. I have always thought if I can make someone laugh or smile everyday of my life- then I am happy & satisfied. I have been around the world, help raise children, been married once or twice, chased the dollar, played guitar in some unsuccessful rock bands and have had really good jobs & really bad ones. I have worked around dangerous conditions, seen tragedy, been the happiest man on earth & unfortunately have been on the farthest opposite end of that spectrum. You never know where people are in life or what they are going thru.
For me, if I can provide a nice photograph to make someone smile or make someone laugh and for that someone, in that moment – they are happy – I am satisfied with my life & I am ready to go..
by; Will Schmahl April 2018
My lesson in life is “You can always learn something from everyone”……..
I am a basically a self taught photographer. I did take a class one summer to help me learn a new camera. Every assignment I went above & beyond each exercise. My instructor enjoyed critiquing my photos after every class as he knew I was there just to fine tune my skills. One day he told me that every photograph does not have to be “FINE ART”. All I said was “yes it does”. That is how I shoot to this day-because EVERY PHOTO SHOULD BE FINE ART. If I wouldn’t hang one of my photos in my own home, I would not expect anyone to hang one in theirs either. I will always be thankful to my instructor. He kept the class fun – even at my expense.
by; Will Schmahl 2017
I was told “Photography was a hard sell”……
I worked in a Art Gallery in Eureka Springs Arkansas for one season. It was one of my favorite jobs I have ever had. I had a great boss & we became friends. Working at his gallery (along with his cat, Carly), I got to sell and arrange artwork, meet & talk with people from all over & all walks of life, and best of all- I got to sell my own photographs. I teamed up with a print lab that printed my photos on metallic paper. I preferred my photos printed at 8″ x 12″ & matted in black (which I signed with a paint pen) and assembled into clear sleeves. Between that time working in the gallery & selling on my own, I sold over 125 of my matted photographs. I keep my prices low (just above break even & replacement) so everyone can afford them. From that point on I realized, Photography doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to look it. It just makes me feel good when someone wants to hang one of MY photographs in their home or office. Lots of my photos sold as gifts which always made me feel really good. One day a local man came in to the gallery just to visit. He looked thru my photos & saw two he really really liked. He didn’t have enough money to buy either of them. He was wearing an old faded Dr Suess ball cap. So yup- we made an even swap (kind of- I gave him 2 photos for it). Later I gave the hat to my grandson Kaidan. I did on several occasions give away a print or two. I’m not much of a business man.. but thats ok, at the end of the day everyones happy….One of my most memorable sales was a young girl who bought one of my photos of an Iris for her grandma-who loved Iris’s. She was going to hang it near her bed at the nursing home as she didnt think her grandma would make it too much longer. Helping make an elderly lady happy one more time was a pretty touching moment for me…
by; Will Schmahl 2017
I was told “Everyone with a camera is a photographer”……
While this maybe true, not everyone captures the same image with the same vision. In theory, 2 people could take a picture of the same thing at the same time & get very similar results. Honest to god truth, I have had other local photographers see what I was having success selling, and would run out & shoot the same thing & try to sell it without success and then feel cheated ! I believe my images are just that, IMAGES while others are just pictures. My images capture a vision, a feeling, a memory while others are just trying to “make a quick buck”. For me, taking a photo is more than its general subject, ie: its a car, airplane, building, river, clouds. Its the difference between taking a picture & the vision of the final image and all steps in between.
I am into photography because I enjoy the final images and every step of the process. I am about the happiness they give other people.
I hope one of my signed photographs will remain on someones wall long after I am gone- and with that photograph, I am remembered, in someway – favorable.
by; Will Schmahl 2017