While traveling throughout Australia and New Zealand last month, ONA Bags released a Photographer Profile feature that we had been collaborating on the previous few weeks. It was a pretty humbling experience to be interviewed by a company I've admired since picking up a camera, especially when considering some of the photographers and artists they've collaborated with in the past.
All of this began when I met some of the ONA team this past September in Brooklyn during Johnny and Rebecca Patience's NYCWLK. They noticed that Sam and I both were using ONA Bags that day during the photowalk and we ended up talking cameras, bags and eventually sharing some of my work. Since meeting in Brooklyn, we've kept in touch and decided to collaborate on a Photographer Profile interview for their blog. In addition to our collaboration, they sent me their brand new product, The Bond Street, which is a perfect complement to my Union Street and Bowery. You can read a few excerpts below or the full Photographer Profile interview on their blog.
We’re excited to debut a new format for our community profiles, comprised of nineteen questions that almost every creative individual can answer, along with a “lightning round” of less serious questions at the end. Our first subject is Johnny Schroepfer, who we met along with his wife Sam at a photo walk last September. Share your photos by tagging #ONAbags to be featured.
Name: Johnny Schroepfer
Hometown: I grew up in Dallas, Texas before moving to Chicago, Illinois
Describe your aesthetic in five words or less: Travel, Authentic, Clean, Candid, Bright
Favorite place to photograph: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Biggest creative influence: Robert Frank
Thing you can’t live without: Hasselblad 500CM with a Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 that was a gift from my wife, Sam.
What motivates you: Exploring new places and cultures, documenting small moments in our daily lives, creating a body of work that reflects the experiences I’ve had throughout my life.
Time of day are you most creative: Early Morning
Biggest challenge: Avoiding hibernation mode and forcing myself to shoot more during the brutal Chicago winters.
One piece of advice that stuck with you: I think making photos all time time, even when you don’t feel like it, is critical to developing one’s creative vision and growing as an artist. Its those times when you don’t feel like shooting that are arguably the most important.
Mistake you’ve learned from: Believing that post processing can offset creative vision.
Work you are most proud of: My most recent project, A Life in Paris, which is a book that highlights a selection of my favorite photographs made while living in Paris, France in 2015.
Most used phrase: “Can you come look at this?” whether it’s asking my wife, Sam, about final edits I’m sending to print or coworkers about a design problem I’m working on.
Earliest memory: Playing in my backyard with my older brother
Hidden talent: I’m incredibly passionate about music and can play several instruments.
Dream project: Collaborating with a non-profit that I’m passionate about and actively involved with like charity: water or the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC). I’d love to travel back to Africa, but this time on a photography assignment to help raise awareness about clean and safe drinking water in developing nations.
Most recent “a-ha” moment: Committing to learning the art of printing your work. Whether you shoot film, digital, or both, I believe that you’re significantly limiting yourself as an artist if you don’t take the time to print your work. I’ve been working with Richard Photo Lab in California for a little over a year now and this collaboration has helped strengthen my relationship and love for the art of photography. And, it has helped me grow as an artist in how I approach both digital and film photography.
Goal for 2017: Publish a book containing a selection of my favorite photographs made while traveling the world with my wife, Sam, these past few years. We’ve traveled from North America to Europe, to Asia, and Africa. We’ll be visiting New Zealand, Australia, Portugal and Spain this year and my goal once we return from our travels is to review the tens of thousands of photographs that have been made throughout the past few years and create something of meaning to share with our close friends, family and maybe even some of you.
Sweet or savory: Savory
Childhood celebrity crush: Natalie Portman
Cats or dogs: Dogs
Favorite album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco
Favorite book: Anything by Neal Stephenson
Biggest fear: Flying