My Picture Tells A Story

Featured Artist

Winter 2019

by renowned visual arts organization Artsy Shark
Details
Jimi GiannattiFormer Photo Editor for SPIN Magazine and Past Photo Editor-in-Chief of Live Sounds Magazine
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...Neal is a “true” photographer; he is as much as part of the photo as the subjects are. The work Neal creates is as much for himself, as it is for his subjects and us viewers. The portraits on the pages of this book underscores this symbiotic relationship Neal has with his art.
Judith HeartSongCurator and Executive Director for Artists and Makers Studios, Arizona and Maryland
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Neal Schlosburg's book is awesome!!! How powerful these portraits are, and the book is really a perfect encapsulation of the project. Neal can be so proud of this profound effort.
Bruce W. Bowers
Sensitive and Insightful
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This book offers the serious viewer an opportunity to look into the intimate emotions of twenty people facing some of the greatest challenges of life. The reader will find commonality and shared humanity in these sensitive images. I want to personally thank the author for this contribution to the world at a time when we really need to see how the trials and tribulations of others belong to us, too.
Barbara Bell
A Tour de Force of Photography
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Each individual's story is presented through a sequence of six overlapping and connected portraits, accompanied by apt song titles for each portrait and a few words to set the theme. The story itself is told through the movement of the eyes, the position of the hands, the bodies held in tension or repose. the viewer immediately becomes a part of the story, and Schlosburg's portraits connect the viewer to universal but often unexpressed emotions and experiences. This is a book to peruse over and over, that expands our understanding of the human condition and connects us to each other.
Andy Stern
Completely Original
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I found "My Picture Tells A Story" absolutely compelling, moving and utterly original. Mr. Schlosburg has managed to capture raw emotions in a way that conveys more to the viewer than would written words. I found myself coming back to the images many times with each visit experiencing something new. I highly recommend this book/work of art.
Robert Law
Brilliant Concept
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Exactly as described, and even better than I thought it would be. Never have I seen such a powerful presentation of photos that shows such emotion.
Ilene
Creativity So Original and Emotional!
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Neal creatively captured the emotions visually of these people in such an original way....so beautifully, may I add!!! I felt both the author, in the photos and of course the titles and the humans in the photos, so very real and open. What a gifted artist Neal is! I’m looking forward to more!
Marge
Very Creative Photography
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A book of images combining excellent photography and human stories. A wonderfully creative idea beautifully executed. You will be moved and uplifted by the photos in this work of art.
Kathy Klenner
Very moving
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The way Neal was able to tell the story through the photographs was moving. Seeing the whole book together aloud me to take the journey. Well done!
Fred
Creative Way to Capture Photos
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Great book Neal. Wonderful perspective on capturing the images and emotions of the person. I highly recommend this book.
Michael Gilberg
Great study in Humans
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A great character study in people and what lies beneath the outward appearance and how a photo can tell a story of a person's life!
Alton KnightProfessional Photograper
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A wonderful project and I’m moved by the stories and how they’re reflected in the images. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing this work with the public, particularly impactful given what the world is experiencing right now.
Stephen CouttsInventor and Engineer
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Neal, I enjoyed your book tremendously. If a photo is worth 1000 words, ... it would be a huge book! Excellent job.
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Featured Article

Professional Photographers

April 2020 Edition. by Amanda Arnold
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twenty stories by twenty people
a unique portrait study in human emotions

The Motivation

Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated.

Sharing emotions and troubling stories with family members or close friends is difficult for many people. We are afraid of what another will think of us. Society tells us not to burden another with our troubles.

Instead, many of us internalize them, blow them off when we need to share them, even tell them to an inappropriate person. It affects our moods, our outlook, our day to day life, and our relationships. Some swear they will take these feelings and stories to their grave. Unfortunately, some do sooner than later.

People tell me their personal stories and I listen to them without judgment. In telling their stories, I use unique images. My work shows sharing personal, emotional stories can be safe. Yours can be too.

The History

The Genesis – July 25th, 2015

Michael Austin Stevens

Mr. Stevens, who used his middle name, at least with me, contacted me to photograph his business headshot for LinkedIn and other social media. At the time, Austin was a lifelong Military transitioning into the Civilian work world.

The photo session was very straight forward. Austin knew what he wanted, and the session was completed within 10 minutes of the first pose. During Austin’s time on the posing stool, he was able to see his image right after I took each shot. I have a large monitor in my studio. Not only do I see the images right after each shot; so do my clients. After a few shots, Austin and I agreed we had the right image.

After each session ends, the client pays for the service by check or credit. If not for a quirk of faith would the image that became the genesis for My Picture Tells A Story be taken.

Me: “Austin, would like to use check or credit card?”
Austin: “How about cash?” “No one ever gives me cash, Austin.” I replied. “Well, you’ll take it won’t you?” Austin asked. “Of course.” I responded.
He gives me too much money and… “Austin, this is too much money. I don’t have change for this. No one ever gives me cash.” I said. “Can we take another picture?” Austin asked. It was less than what I’d usually charge for a second image but… Sure! Let’s go back into the studio. I responded.
I asked Austin to take off his coat and tie for a more casual look. The first 2 shots were not to my liking. I decided to do something very different… something I’ve never done in a portrait session before. Standing in front of him, I asked him to put his coat back on. Then I asked him that whatever was in his head, whatever he was feeling right then, go there. I asked him to wait a moment until I turned around and walked back to my camera. When I got to the camera, I said I’d turn around and press the shutter release immediately. That image came up on the studio monitor. We both thought it looked interesting and decided to stop there.

The Picture

One day later, I started the post photo session work in Photoshop. The business shot of Austin was a straightforward, classic business image. The second shot was a very different story. I stared at it for 15 minutes. In front of me was an image that as a business portrait photographer, I had not photographed before. It was a spontaneous, emotional response for me to capture in a portrait setting. Long ago, my beginning days as an artist were using charcoal and pastels, not a camera. I let the emotion of the image carry my artistic instincts.

Along with a note, I sent the finished images to Austin. In the note, I mentioned that I had never finished an image the way I did with his second portrait. I also let him know that if he did not like the way I did it, I’d do it over.

His response was “Don’t you dare touch it.”

Responses

Including the back story, I posted the image on a photography Facebook page. I was expecting feedback on the quality and technical side of Austin’s picture, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I got a string of personal comments. Some by people that were in the same situation, had been in that situation, or were close to someone going through it.

I continued to receive emotional responses to Austin’s image and the story it told. Before I showed the image to someone, I always told the story behind it. The story was simple, “This is Austin. He’s a lifelong Military transitioning into the Civilian world.” The most compelling reaction came from an acquaintance and fellow photographer. I didn’t know he was ex-Military prior to showing him the image. When Dan saw the image, his response was emphatic. “I know exactly how he feels. That was me.”

Although I continued the business portraits, I soon started doing street photography, but the desire to photograph spontaneous human emotion in a portrait setting stayed with me. It would become a driving passion to create human images that people could form an emotional connection with.

The Technique – March 19th, 2017

That Sunday morning, I went to a cousin’s brunch. I happened to be testing a new lens that weekend and brought it with me. I might use it to compliment my other lenses for street photography in the future.  It’s also a great lens for sitting at a table and capturing inmate images of people up close without being intrusive.

I was photographing randomly throughout when I noticed my cousin Bunny starting to tell a story. She was telling it to a few cousins across and slightly to the right of me. Bunny was seated directly across from me. She is very animated when she talks, especially when she is relaying a tale. I started shooting and captured about a dozen images. The thought was that I would have one or two images out of this group that I really liked. When I put the images up on my editing viewer, my reaction was something entirely different. What I saw was an old-time film strip or story board. What would it look like if I took five of the images and put them together on a single canvas or print? I let my creative instincts take over; I created a complete story on a single print using multiple images.

Over a period of time, I showed the print to a few fellow photographers. Their responses were positive and encouraging.

LensWork and the Seeing in Sixes Project – April to June 2017

In 2016, LensWork Magazine introduced the Seeing in Sixes project. The concept was simple: create six separate interrelated images. The idea was to stimulate photographers by using this concept. It was a way to jump start the creative process. They would publish the 50 best projects they received. The submissions were worldwide. Several of my colleagues used the concept simply to start their own projects. A few submitted theirs for consideration. The publication is annual with the last one in 2019.

The Challenge – July 2017

I met with Patty Hankins, a fellow photographer to discuss my first solo exhibit set to open in October 2018. We discussed much, but the one thing she emphasized was a centerpiece or anchor for the exhibit. The exhibit was titled The Color in Black & White, an exhibit of only black and white images. Towards the end of our discussion, Patty challenged me to do a Seeing in Sixes project, maybe something that might end up in the exhibit. Since I was familiar with the concept of Seeing in Sixes, I found it intriguing if not thought provoking.

The First Six – October 4th, 2017

Towards the end of September, I was struck with an idea that would later turn out to be the centerpiece for the upcoming exhibit and go on to become My Picture Tells A Story. What if I had six people tell me their story, using six images on each canvas? Six people, telling six stories, with six images on six prints, the ideal Seeing in Sixes project.

The Email Once the concept was born, I needed six volunteers. I decided to take a chance and seek out volunteers where I work (my day job). That October was my eleventh year at the wonderful and supportive company, Payroll Network. I sent an email to all my fellows at PNI: 6 Volunteers For A Photography Project I am looking for 6 volunteers to help with a photography project I am undertaking. It will take maybe 10 to 15 minutes to complete this with each volunteer. The photographs would be shot during a lunch period, before work or after work….your choice. I am only looking to do one volunteer on any given day. What it entails is this:

The finished photo strip will be in black & white and will be 6 shots instead of the 5 you see above.

The finished photo strips will be part of my first solo exhibit that will be in October 2018 at the Artist & Makers II Gallery in Rockville. All the photographs that will be exhibited will be in black & white – The Exhibit Is Titled The Color in Black & White.

Please don’t hesitate to talk with me before you volunteer if you need more info.

This should be a lot fun for those that do volunteer. 😊

I received more than six than volunteers. I took the first six, Johanna, Skyla, Erinn, Bill, Fekadu, and Tim. My Picture Tells A Story came to life.

The Project

My Picture Tells A Story


… are six volunteers, telling six stories, on six separate canvases, with six images on each canvas. Each print tells a complete story.

Over a period of seven months, Billy, Tim, Skyla, Erinn, Fekadu, and Johanna each told me their very personal story. For the story sessions, each dressed, sat, spoke, and moved as they chose. They were never rehearsed, prompted, or interrupted. I never spoke. Each story took 30 to 90 minutes to tell. For each story, I took 500 to 1,500 images. From those images, I chose six in chronological order to tell you their story.

I am eternally grateful to Billy, Tim, Skyla, Erinn, Fekadu, and Johanna for their trust in me, and their support and love in this endeavor. None of this is possible without their willingness to bring My Picture Tells A Story to life.

The Musical Connection

Music has been an essential part of my life, and it entered the creative process in an unexpected way. Looking at one of my fine art images, a large delicate white flower with linen like petals, my dear friend Gail, said it reminded her of a beautiful wedding dress. The moment she made that comment, Billy Idol’s White Wedding played in my head. Since then, all my images are named after a song title, an album title, or a band name.

Billy

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

Tim

Maggie's Farm

Skyla

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Erinn

You're Lost Little Girl

Fekadu

The Long And Winding Road

Johanna

I Won't Back Down

Lisa

In My Life

Shanae

You Don’t Know Me

Amanda

Run For Your Life

Heather

Here Comes The Sun

Brian

Calm Inside The Storm

Allen

I Can't Hide From My Mind​

Cristina

Let It Be

Jenny

Tears In Heaven

Sue

One's On The Way

Connie

Here Today

Beverly

I Love Paris

Jeremy

Under Pressure

Amanda

Good Vibrations

Robin

Grandma's Garden

Artist Statement

Neal Schlosburg, photo artist: The mood of an image is a shared experience between artist and viewer.

I explore energy, emotion, and sensibilities with my images and their titles. My goal is to have an expressive exchange; one soul directly to another. I converse with light, shades, tones, textures, shapes, and words to tell a story and to convey my feelings. Life is diverse, so too are the moods.

Your Story

A Portrait Like No Other

Details

My Picture Tells A Story

the exhibit

On Friday October 5th, 2018, the original six images (stories) debuted as part of my first solo exhibit, The Color in Black & White. It was the center piece of the thirty-six prints on exhibit. Because of the reactions to the stories, there was incredible interest in having an expanded exhibit.

Along with the original six, there will be fourteen new stories for this exhibit. Twenty stories, told by twenty different people, with six images that tell each story. During 2019, the fourteen new stories were created.

2021 Schedule Exhibits for My Picture Tells A Story

The Goldman Art Gallery at the Bender Center of the Rockville JCC, 6125 Montrose Rd, Rockville, MD 20852

The Gallery Hall at the Artist & Makers Studios, 11810 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852.

The exhibit opening dates to be determined.

please fill all requested info

General Questions and Comments

Gallery and Exhibit Inquiries

Artist Bio

Portrait Photograph by Julius Schlosburg

Music and photographs were the two passions that inspired my formative years. I first experienced photography through my father’s family photos. I especially was intrigued with the development and outcome of images with the early Polaroid cameras. It’s one thing to see the images when my father showed them to us, quite another to watch them develop.

My first involvement with photography wasn’t with a camera; it was in a developing lab at summer camp. There was a darkroom where we made contact sheets. While that experience was limited, it was a springboard into a creative future.

My artistic creativity blossomed during my final two years of high school. In my family, voicing feelings was not welcomed, and certainly not encouraged. Through charcoal and pastels I started to express my feelings. Looking back, my strongest expressions were in the form of sharp contrasts when using charcoal. The more complex ones seemed to emerge when I used pastels. There was something very cathartic about getting my fingers into the pastels as I blended and formed the textures and colors. At 19, not long after high school, my hands weren’t as cooperative as they had been. It became difficult to continue using charcoal and pastels. I bought a camera.

During the time I progressed as a photographer, two major influences impacted me as an artist and my trust in sharing emotions. The first was a group of close friends that helped me believe it was safe to share my feelings without being judged. The second was my introduction to the work of Alfred Stieglitz. In the early 1900’s, Stieglitz was one of the first, if not the first photographer to declare that photography was art. I was taken with his images of the human face, and to me, some of his photographs were reminiscent of works in charcoal.

Through those growth years, my interest in portrait photography evolved. Originally it was business portraits, but along the way I gravitated towards candid images of people. Along with Stieglitz, two other photographers influenced my work. The first was Herman Leonard, legendary jazz photographer. I loved the real time feelings that his images conveyed. I got the vibe of being right there in the room, front row center, watching, hearing, and feeling Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and many others create music magic. The other was brilliant photographerJimi Giannatti. Jimi’s iconic work on Through These Eyes, portraits of seven iconic African American artists living and working in Los Angeles, gave me a window into their souls through his masterful lens art. The inspiration that these three photographers gave me are my artistic building blocks for My Picture Tells A Story.

I chose to not retouch my bio portrait. If the story tellers can show you who they are, so should I.

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