Portrait photographer Robert Schimmel says he’s never been happier.
His clients have ranged from high school kids to billionaires.
He says he was one of the first to embrace the digital revolution.
Schimmel has been shooting and capturing photos for more than a decade.
But he’s still passionate about what he does, and how his images are being used in advertising and other commercial endeavors.
“I think the most important thing is I’m a photographer,” he said.
“I love to do what I do.
I love my craft.
I like to put my heart and soul into it.”
Schimmels first shot his first portrait in 2007, and his latest, which has been in the works for almost two years, is a collaboration with the National Archives of the United States, National Portrait Gallery of New York and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“We really wanted to capture the spirit of what New York is about,” Schimmels said.
Schimel said he thinks people should be able to have a candid conversation with his subjects.
“If I tell a story, it’s my story,” he explained.
“If I do a portrait, it is my story, and if I do an essay, it really is my experience.”
In a way, the portraits can be like a snapshot in time, with Schimmell’s portraits showing his family as they look back on the year before he was born.
“The first thing that happens is the mother is in the living room and you see this girl, this little girl,” he recalled.
“The next thing you know, it was the daughter who was with you.”
The portraits have also been used in a number of commercial ventures.
He’s used them to market the company he co-founded, he’s used the portraits in a documentary about the Portrait School and he’s created a digital collection that features his work.
“In general, the way I approach the process is that I’m just making a portrait.
If I’m doing a portrait of myself, I’m making a photograph,” Schimel explained.
“It’s my choice.”
For the past two years he’s been shooting with the photographer in a studio in Manhattan, and he hopes to bring the images to the public soon.
“A lot of the times, when I’m in my studio, I get up and I’m like, ‘I don’t care if you get your photos taken or not,'” he said, laughing.
“When I go out into the street and I do my photo shoots, I just feel like I’ve got this little bit of my soul.
And I know my pictures, and the world knows them.”