People Photography: Storytelling African Faces by Jan Schlegel

Nothing like an old face to tell thousands of stories. When I first visited Jan Schlegel’s website, I got amazed with his African people photography project.

While there are many photographers take portrait shots for African people, Jan’s project is totally one of a kind, not only because how he took the shots, but also the technique used in the shots as he is one of the rare photographers that still shoot in traditional film photography (Back to the Days of Film Photography with Boris Pophristov).

In his people photography project, Jan Schlegel took shots for African people with focusing on the face expressions and local traditions. The light direction and the contrast highlight the age signs on the faces and the hard life they experienced (How to Take Portrait Photos for Old People).

Jan Schlegel is a German photographer born in 1965 and started photography at the age of 14 with his first Minolta XG9 camera. Influenced by Walter Schel, he experienced the black and white portraits. He also inspired by Toni Schneider. Currently he teaches photography in the University of the Nations and mentoring students as they find their own way of seeing things around with the eye of the photographer.

Since 1998, Jan travels around the world and take photos not only for his projects but also to document the world traditions that seems to be extinct due to the world changes (Vanishing Tribes Captured in a Special Photography Project).

As mentioned above, Jan Schlegel is one of the few photographers that still shoot in film and he uses Ebony SV45 Ti on traditional Kodak Tmax 400 film and the films are developed in Kodak D76 Developer 1+1 dilution. In order to enhance the shadows each negative is sandwiched with traditional made unshaped mask, the highlight masks are use to increase the details in the prints. None of his images are digitally edited and the photos are enlarged on fiber based photographic paper (Fomabrom Variant 111).

Each printed photography is partly toned in order to give the inner dynamic depth as you can see in the people photography below. After finishing, each photo is Selen toned to ensure maximum life and enhance the depth int he shadows.

Below are examples of his African people photography project showing different men and women in traditional clothes.

people photography

people photography

portrait shots jan schlegel

portrait shots jan schlegel

portrait shots jan schlegel

portrait shots jan schlegel

portrait shots jan schlegel

If you enjoy Jan Schlegel, you can visit his portfolio website for more creative examples of his photographs, also you can check the below related articles:


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