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Conversations with the Inspiring Erika Schnur

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erika Schnur.

Erika, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
There are some things in life you just know will happen. For me, it was being aware that photography was my life calling. As soon as I picked up my first camera, I knew I never wanted to be without it and the feeling that resulted from being immersed in the photographic bliss I create. I work to continue to express those intense feelings of love through my work regardless of the subject matter. When I think about photographs, I can’t help but about their permanence.

Reflecting on my journey to the discovery and celebration of my artistic emergence, it is appropriate to cite the inspiration for my pursuit of a photographic career which was greatly influenced by my father. He has been photographing since the late 1960s after he was discharged from the United States Army. His love of social enlightenment and photographic greatness continue to motivate me. My father’s encouraging presence paired with observing the extensive work of photographers such as Dora Maar, Helen Levitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gordon Parks, and Eugène Atget have propelled my once hobby into the development of a profession I am passionate about. The work of conceptual artists such as Lorna Simpson, Renée Cox, Sally Mann, Diane Arbus, Juno Calypso, and Cindy Sherman relentlessly remind me that I am on the correct path to take part in creating the change I wish to see in the world.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road to becoming an artist was anything but easy for me. As a mother of twins and being married at the time, I began to dive into the art world, it was difficult to merge all of these sides of myself into this one being.

I have to cite studying abroad in Paris, France as the singular factor that really changed my life. While I was in Paris, I began to see myself transcending these labels placed on myself and recognized that art was in every aspect of myself not just in the side of me I would label as “artist/photographer.”

To all the young women who are emerging on this journey, remember to never sacrifice your being. Always preserve your authentic self and let that shine through everything you do. Life is too short to be anything but the absolute best you, you can be.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
Art is the stimulus of self-awareness and is an essential part of history. In my life, the vehicle of art is moved by the lens of my camera, shaped by my photographic perception. I am interested in the human condition and our ability to use art to bring light to dismissed social concerns and demand change. Art has now become an emotional experience for me. With the photographic medium as my instrument to expose atrocities and reverse injustices, my objective is to offer viewers a new perspective on the daunting realities within our society. I came to this stance on my role in the art world as I often I found myself looking at what is happening around the world and feeling overwhelmed by the grief of the thought that I am but a singular entity and my voice alone would go unheard in my opposition. The more I spoke out against iniquity through my artwork, I began to feel that it was my obligation as an artist to use my platform to liberate the oppressed in a manner that requires the challenging of our current ideals.

As a photographer who began solely as a digital artist, working with medium and large format film has allowed me to unleash a new facet of creativity within the subject matter of my work. When I am shooting and processing my film, I feel as though I am digging into the soul of art. Equipped with the drive to explore all aspects of the medium, I now also work with alternative photographic techniques such as cyanotypes and collaging. This sacred bond between the images and I create a dynamic relationship that is often perceived when viewing my work. I strive to advance this bond as well as extend it toward viewers to create connections that might otherwise be lost in translation. When I think about the medium of photography, the permanence of the photograph itself has been a continuous fascination. The photographs begin to mirror artifacts, surviving as a remnant of the past carrying the weight of the untold narrative posed within it. This interest has propelled me to express the notion of permanence through my work to create artwork that transcends time.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
As an only child, I spent a lot of time around my parents and other adults. This led me to look at the world a little differently than a lot of my peers did. I started to analyze the world with the relationships we have with people and the way we interact with one another. I thought a great deal about how the way people display their love to us influences the way we look at our selves. Now, as an adult myself, this seems to be a reoccurring theme in my own work,

Contact Info:

  • Website: ESchnurArt.com
  • Phone: 8139972535
  • Email: eschnurphoto@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @e_schnur_photography

Image Credit:
Erika Schnur

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