"It's all about the light!"
Every once in a while when you browse through the 1x gallery, you come across a photo of an animal that's up to something. You don't quite see what and the curiosity makes you click on the thumbnail to watch the photo in full size. Now you can see what's going on. It's a seabird passing on a tiny fish to another bird in mid flight. Or it's a squirrel jumping from one branch to another, captured exactly at the moment when its paws leave the wood. If the photo also has warm colors, an extreme level of detail and a composition as simple as it's effective, you are probably watching a photo by Christopher Schlaf.
Christopher Schlaf was an active member of 1x before becoming a curator. He vividly remembers his first encounter with the gallery:
"I thought, wow! The images are incredible! I did join, but didn't put up any images for a while. Then I thought I would give the place a try, so I sent three images in and two made it. After that, I was hooked."
Today, he has over 100 photographs published at 1x and has won several awards. 2013 he was enpointed "photographer of the year" in the Trierenberg Super Circuit.
Schlaf resides in Romeo, Michigan in the United States. He is 51 years old, married and the father of three young girls. Besides family, sports and outdoor life plays an important role in his life. The latter is very visible in his photographic work;
"For me, photography is a way to get out and enjoy wildlife and capture the beauty of it all."
By now, he has already captured a fair share of beauty. Everyone who watches his photos can't help to notice the strive for technical perfection that always is present in his work. Especially so in the wild life photos that most people associate him with. He does however also do assignments as a portrait photographer, where his sense for detail is put to good use.
For inspiration, Schlaf often explores other photographers;
"There have been so many times that I have reached burnout and I find that looking at other photos from other photographers rekindles the fire. Many times, I will see a photo that I really like and think that if I did a few changes to it, it would really have something interesting."
Perhaps it's this interest that led him to the path of becoming a curator. When reviewing a photo, Schlaf is very distinct. He wants technical perfection, which includes good lighting, high level of detail and a non distracting background. He also enjoys orginality.
"Bonus points for action and the biggie would be something different".
When asked about his most important advice to beginners, he reminisces his own early experiences as a photographer:
"I would hear so many times the words "It's all about the light" and I would think: "Yeah, whatever..." Well for the most part, they were right!"