Observations / Other Media

Howard Schatz and the Poetry of Dance

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Above is a gallery of Howard Schatz’s photography, specifically of dancers in various portfolios. These photographs, as well as the rest of Schatz’s work, may be viewed in his website portfolio.

Howard Schatz, 72, is an internationally famed photographer, particularly well-known for his underwater photography. However, Schatz did not begin his photography career until the mid-1980s. First, he completed his medical degree at The University of Illinois College of Medicine, followed by an internship, residency, and fellowship at Johns Hopkins (“Howard Schatz”). At the time he began exploring photography, Schatz was working as a retina-specializing ophthalmologist and professor at The University of California at San Francisco’s Medical Center (Barbour).

Schatz decided to take up photography as a hobby on the weekends (Barbour). His photographs were well-received, and he and his wife, who is also his business partner, soon had more demand than Saturdays alone could fill. They moved from California to New York for a year to pursue photography, and that sabbatical has yet to end.

Schatz is most well-known, perhaps, for his underwater photography, particularly with members of the San Francisco ballet. For Schatz and his wife, photography is all about capturing the imagination, and Schatz became fascinated  by what happens to the human body when underwater, particularly its weightlessness and dreamlike appearance (Barbour).

Schatz faced multiple technical issues, but his scientific background helped him to resolve them. For example, he figured out how to adjust the water’s pH so it doesn’t sting models’ eyes. He also vaporizes the chlorine from the water when shooting. Furthermore, he manipulates the set lighting so that skin colors appear warm rather than blue (Barbour).

While many assume that Schatz’s knowledge of the human eye sparked his interest in and talent for photography, his passion for people and their nature is his true inspiration (Barbour). His other diverse portfolios testify to this idea. These portfolios include galleries of homeless people, dancers, boxers, and more.

Works Cited

Barbour, Celia. “Coming up for Air.” The New York Times. N.p., 16 Dec. 2007. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/realestate/16habi.html?_r=1>.

“Howard Schatz.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 16 July 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Schatz>.


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