As an accomplished professional portrait photographer, Neal Schlosburg has created a style of portraiture that is stunningly unique. These portraits have been showcased in Professional Photographers Magazine, Artsy Shark’s Featured Artists, numerous exhibitions, both solo and as a contributing artist and as the bestselling book My Picture Tells A Story on Amazon’s Best Sellers List for Black and White Photography.
Neal is a storyteller who uses his camera to bring to life portraits that are singular, vibrant, and distinct. These portraits have garnered the attention of Jimi Giannatti, former Photo Editor for SPIN Magazine and past Photo Editor-in-Chief of Live Sounds Magazine who wrote, “Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Richard Avedon, Mary Ellen Mark, and so many more, all leave an indelible personal stamp of themselves within each photograph they create. Having this ability to capture an image that comes from their heart, as much as it does from their mind, is a gift. My dear friend Neal Schlosburg has this gift.”
Neal in his own words
Music and photographs were the two passions that inspired my formative years. I first experienced photography through my father’s family photos. I was especially intrigued with the development and outcome of images with the early Polaroid cameras. It’s one thing to see the prints 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. Voicing my feelings was not welcomed, certainly not encouraged by my family. Through charcoal and pastels, I started to express my feelings. My most intense 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.
As I progressed as a photographer, two important 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 1900s, Stieglitz was one of the first photographers to declare that photography was art. 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. I started with 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, the 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 photographer Jimi 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. These three photographers gave me are my building blocks for My Picture Tells A Story.