by Yvette Depaepe
If you go through the portfolio of Inge Schuster, you will be amazed by the high photographic quality of her work. She shows the beauty of architecture in a unique way. Her skills to see details others don't, are representative in her brilliant compositions with a huge sense of colour. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about you and your passion for photography, Inge.
I was born, raised and lived in Copenhagen for 55 years. 10 years ago my husband and I moved to the countryside surrounded by a magnificent landscape full of wildlife.
I'm a laboratory technician and studied biochemistry. But very soon I decided to make my profession from my hobby. I borrowed my mother’s sewing machine when I was 25 years old and started a process of designing and sewing both clothes and interior accessories.
Over the years I have had several shops, a sewing school and latest production and wholesale of children’s clothes of my own design. This was going so well that I was in need of more space for storage. Therefore we relocated on the countryside having found a large farm house with lot of space for the storage.
That is how my next passion started: the creation of a garden. Until then my husband and I lived in the city centre of Copenhagen in apartments. Suddenly we got twenty thousand square meters of land with all kind of weed and 100 years old trees. Now 10 years later we have a park-like garden with the most breath-taking views on forests and fields, a greenhouse garden, a fruit- and berry garden, a vegetable garden and 4 small terraced gardens. They all are fenced by carved beech hinges and of course we kept the 30 meter high old trees.
In addition to the construction of the garden we renovated completely the buildings – however with the help of local workers.
In fact my designing business started my interest for photography. It was rather expensive to ask a professional to take the pack shots. We decided to buy a camera and some studio light material and my husband did the job by himself.
I took the camera with me on a vacation in the summer of 2012 and I saw the light!
However I was not happy with the outcome. Therefore in February 2013 I took lessons to use the camera on Manual. A short time later, in April I attended a workshop in street photography in Istanbul. It was a cross-border experience for me to photograph people at close range. We had to use a 35 mm lens and the camera set to manual. I was used to auto mode and to use a zoom lens of 24-180 mm. In the evening the images were uploaded in Lightroom, adjusted and we had to choose the best for the joint review. Everything was new for me. It was hard working with my little knowledge of techniques.
But it was very exciting to see how I was faced with reality. I felt that the pictures told me small everyday stories. During that week a small, new hobby was born and transformed into a great passion that still grows day by day. There are a couple of pictures from Istanbul in my album “Street”.
The reason why I focused on street photography was due to the fact that the instructor from my first “manual” course specialized in this category of workshops, which I really didn't know nothing about. After we have moved to the country, we spend our holidays in cities, so it made good sense in that way.
The next two years I took pictures when I was on holiday and when I was together with my family. I spent quite some time producing photo-books as I like to match photos and make the layout of a book. I think that many of the books were rather good, actually. In fact so good that friends and family started to order books. But after some time I wanted to move on.
In the beginning of 2015 I had a serious lack of inspiration of how to further develop myself. I was surfing on the net and came across 1X. I subscribed and became a member because the site has a nice, clean layout that presents the images shown in a good way and because the images are curated.
It was like starting all over again. Here I clearly saw that I still had a lot to learn.
My photos clearly improved when I started on 1x, but they still were missing something to get published. So while sending my work to curation – mostly in the category Street, I began to study the published photos, the different categories. Inspired by what I saw in the 1x gallery, I decided to try the category “Abstract”. Why “Abstract”? Because of my background as a designer, I was used to work with lots of forms and colours. I felt like I could be rather good.
On a trip to Hamburg I decided to visit some modern museums in order to take photos in both categories Abstract and Architecture. I never took photos of modern architecture but really wanted to try.
I was lucky because in Deichtorhallen Hamburg there was an exhibition from artist Günther Förg who had decorated huge walls. Exactly what I was looking for. Good light , big rooms and beautiful art on painted walls. There were only a few visitors. I knew immediately that I had to take that opportunity to take successful shots. The only downside was that I only had 35 minutes until the museum was closing for the day, and it was our last day in Hamburg. So, no possibilities to come back later.
This project became a success beyond all my expectations. 14 pictures taken on this single event have passed through the needle’s eye. Having them published means a lot to me. I have to confess that I had already two photos published before these abstracts but in the categories Fine Art Nude and Mood.
The first one is a poster covering a dirty window of a door from a closed shop in Budapest. The other one is a poster hanging in the window of a lingerie store in a subway station from Riga. Both photos were heavily cropped and adjusted in Lightroom. I never really felt like if these photos were mine. Therefore I was so pleased that my abstracts were a success.
Making abstract photos became pure play and relaxation and a way of learning how to work in Photoshop. One photo leads to the other. I never get short of ideas, and the more I work in Photoshop, the more I'm becoming creative.
I always try to adjust an image to fit with the mood of the topic/main element. The format of the photo also has to match with the main elements. I try to catch the attention of the viewer to tell the story.
I take most of my photos when I'm on vacation. I always take my camera with me and take pictures of everything that catches my interest. I am very impulsive and shoot before thinking. Anyway, if there is something that is particularly interesting, I usually take a series of it. I always shoot in raw format. My camera is a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and my favourite lens is EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM.
I have many other lenses and more equipment that I nearly never use because my husband has the same camera as mine and we share the equipment. He goes a lot more into equipment and technology than I do.
I like to explore places that I don't know. Therefore I feel more comfortable with a zoom lens not knowing on the forehand what I'm going to photograph as the day passes by.
Talking a little more about how I work and how to get inspired I will give an example. On my profile I made a small album called: My Way.
Late November this year, I went to Langeland, a small Danish island, to take some pictures. It was a dark and grey rainy day. Most of my pictures were taken in Bagenkop, a small harbour village along the coast. I took about 250 pictures. As soon as I came home, I imported them in Lightroom and I began to work on the most appealing ones. I thought about making a small series from Langeland to put on my website. Four images were adjusted to fit together. The first one: detail shot with a door and a window. The second one: a man walking by the sea (nice silhouette - I will cut it out later). The third one: detail shot of three buildings. The fourth one: a walking man (there were very few people outdoor that day, so I had to catch him). I still had pictures with potential so I could have go on the same way, but I didn't.
The fifth picture was a gable that I wanted to highlight. I chose to simplify it by painting away a pair of adjacent buildings to give it a graphical look. It really developed my creativity. Then, on the next picture, a landscape shot, I added a flock of birds. This image inspired me to move on with a landscape shot taken on my way home, very close to where I live. Of course, I adapted the colours and the mood to the other pictures and I used once more the flock of birds. While the birds were still on my mind, I came along a picture taken in a railway station a few months earlier. So that one also got the flock of birds on a red sky, this time. Thus that small traditional Langeland series ended with a black/red silhouette image.
Conclusion: I never know where I will end when I start processing my pictures just like I never know before going out to an unknown place, what kind of pictures I will take.
That's why it is so exciting to me. I can go on like this for hours always thinking: just one more. Anyway, the Langeland series was not shown on the website, because again I was inspired to do something else than what I first planned. Maybe I will handle it again some day when I have plenty of time. Or maybe not!
However I am sure that I will return to the Langeland series later with new eyes. Surely, there must be more pictures having potential.
In fact I often return to my old pictures to start all over again, because as I am improving my skills I am seeing new possibilities. I have large series from Vietnam and Cuba from which I would like to make photo books.
In the very beginning, when I started taking pictures, my goal was to take some good holiday and family pictures in addition of pictures of our house, garden and surroundings after the renovation and landscaping. (My husband has taken many pictures all along the way.) Thus we have some memories from our home mostly build and created by ourselves where we were and still are very happy to live. I reached that goal and now I just want to learn more and to improve my skills.
When I started I did not know much about photography art, but I always red many fashion, design and interior magazines because of my work. As I mentioned earlier, I was soon acquainted with the “street” genre. But it was only when I joined 1X that I discovered the versatility of photos.
I'm very pleased to be here. I got plenty of inspiration from the 1x gallery. I learned a lot from the comments and feedback other members gave me. I have been judged by the curators and chose to delete every picture which was rejected. It helped me a lot to start working on them again. I want to get better and better and realize that I still have so much to learn. I want to improve my Photoshop skills and practice almost every day.
It is difficult to me to choose some favourites among my own pictures. I have taken so many really different ones. However if I have to choose one, it might be the one from Deichtorhallen which I was thinking to be the first to be published on 1X when I saw it on the screen of my camera in spite of the hundreds of pictures I already sent to curation. So, when this one was awarded and published I was double so happy!
Well, there is one more picture, I would like to mention: “Her Castle” because making it was like entering a brand new world for me. My fantasy world, which always has been in my head, but never expressed in pictures before. I would like to develop this world.
I also like this picture because it is the combination of two photographs which were not that attractive separately. And more... when looking to that image I always think about Rapunzel because the hands of the old lady could have been her plaits.
My favourite photos from other photographers? Quite impossible to answer because there are so many images I would have loved to take myself.
My wish for the future is to travel much more armed with my camera. I also want to make books for our children and grandchildren. I have so many pictures from my parent’s and in-law’s from one hundred years back. I would like to mix these photos with some of my own to document the history.