Featured Artist Neal Schlosburg

Neal Schlosburg photographs spontaneous emotions in a formal portrait setting, using a series of photos to create a story. View more of his work by visiting his website.

 

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (Billy, Divorce – title credit Green Day), Photography by Neal Schlosburg

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (Billy, Divorce – title credit Green Day), Photography, 30” x 20”

 

Our disquieting stories and unsettling feelings are often difficult to express to those closest to us. We’re afraid of being judged, thought of as less than. Many grow up believing we don’t burden another with our difficulties. That’s the way I was raised.

 

“(I Can’t Get No” Satisfaction” (Skyla, Body Image – title credit Mick Jagger and Keith Richards), Photography by Neal Schlosburg

“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” (Skyla, Body Image – title credit Mick Jagger and Keith Richards), Photography, 30” x 20”

 

Internalizing, ignoring, and pretending emotions don’t exist affects our daily lives. They impact our temperaments, viewpoints, and relationships with others. In my life, it made me feel disconnected, especially from those closest to me.

 

“You’re Lost Little Girl” (Erin, Family Issues – title credit The Doors), Photography by Neal Schlosburg

“You’re Lost Little Girl” (Erin, Family Issues – title credit The Doors), Photography, 30” x 20”

 

 

My Pictures Tells A Story is based on a simple premise. This quote by Jill Bolte Taylor says it best. “Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated.” Through my images, my storytellers show how safe sharing feelings can be, and how safe sharing your emotions can be.

 

“Genesis” (Original Portrait – Austin, Can we take another picture? Title credit Genesis), Photography by Neal Schlosburg

“Genesis” (Original Portrait – Austin, Can we take another picture? Title credit Genesis), Photography, 20” x 30”

 

The beginnings of this project occurred during a professional portrait session in 2012. After my client’s portrait session was over, he asked if we could do something informal. A few posed shots later, I invited Austin to try something entirely different. I asked him to show me whatever was in his head, whatever he was feeling at that moment. I turned, walked to my camera, turned to face him, and immediately pressed the shutter.

 

“Maggie’s Farm” (Tim, Job from hell – title credit Bob Dylan), Photography by Neal Schlosburg

“Maggie’s Farm” (Tim, Job from hell – title credit Bob Dylan), Photography, 30” x 20”

 

This was my first experience photographing a spontaneous emotion in a formal portrait setting. I posted the image on Facebook and shared it in the presence of others. I gave the very simple back story when I did. “This is Austin, lifelong military transitioning into civilian life.” The raw emotions Austin willingly shared with me were felt by those who saw the photograph. On Facebook, it started a discussion between people who had been through or were going through a similar experience, or knew someone in the same situation as Austin. In person, the reactions were no different, except I could see and feel those reactions. Hearing, feeling, and reading these reactions to Austin’s image was humbling. That Austin willingly shared his emotions this way was not only humbling but affirming.

 

“I Won’t Back Down” (Johanna, Health and motivation – title credit Tom Perry and Jeff Lynne), Photography by Neal Schlosburg

“I Won’t Back Down” (Johanna, Health and motivation – title credit Tom Perry and Jeff Lynne), Photography, 30” x 20”

 

The idea and technique for this project coalesced in March of 2017. I photographed my cousin telling a story at a family brunch. Later that day, I looked at the images as thumbnails. Because I could see all the images from my cousin’s’ story at the same time, I saw the story, not individual images. I took five of the images and placed them together on one background in Photoshop.

 

“The Long and Winding Road” (Fekadu, Missing his homeland – title credit Paul McCartney), Photography by Neal Schlosburg

“The Long and Winding Road” (Fekadu, Missing his homeland – title credit Paul McCartney), Photography, 30” x 20”

 

As a visual artist, my goal has always been to have a direct conversation with the viewer, one soul directly to another. I now had a unique way of telling complete stories that people could connect with.

 

Artist and photography Neal Schlosburg

Artist Neal Schlosburg

 

The goal of My Picture Tells A Story was to vividly show that sharing emotions with people you trust is safe, healthy, and healing. I created space for my storytellers to share their stories without interruption, and most importantly, without judgment. For me, the experience was life altering. To have these storytellers trust me with their deepest feelings was emotionally affirming.

 

My Picture Tells A Story Exhibit Poster by Neal Schlosburg

My Picture Tells A Story Exhibit Poster

 

Beginning April 2020, My Picture Tells A Story opens as a traveling exhibit, with twenty stories, told by twenty different people. Six images tell each story. Each one is a 20″ x 30″ print.

 

Artist Neal Schlosburg invites you to follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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