Hero of the Week is one of the sections we value the most at Whattaroll because it allows us to discover the smallest details about the artists we admire. Today, we put the spotlight on one of the youngest in our list of film photography heroes. Despite being only 17 years old, Rafael Schlager from Vienna has the ability of portraying the people around him in a captivating way.
That single gesture your friend usually makes while gently talking to you could trigger a new way of shooting; you just need to be talented to appreciate it, and friends, our Hero for this week definitely is.
Find out what inspires and motivates Rafael to take expressive photographs the way he does in our interesting chat with him below!
Please tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, and what you do.
I’m a 17-year-old photography student from Vienna.
How would you personally describe your style of photography? What message/s do you try to convey through your images?
That’s a hard question because my style of photography is always changing and progressing but it was always a way I communicate. I just love to take photos of the people around me. Also, it is a way to process what is happening around me.
Which elements of shooting film are you drawn to the most?
When I shot digital, I shot like 200 photographs in one day; a photograph itself was not important anymore and the physical aspect of photography was getting lost, too. With shooting film, you value a single photograph. I guess that’s what I love about it and also the feeling you get upon first seeing the photographs you’ve taken.
What would you say is your greatest inspiration?
I don’t know actually, inspiration is something that’s just happening. I see a picture and than I want to realize it but the person I’m shooting is a big part of it. Most times the person does something particular that inspires me.
In this part of our interview, we get a little more up close and personal with our hero through a handful of questions about the people he finds inspirational, his tools of the trade, shooting routine, and more:
Name someone whose art makes you shiver.
I guess I have to name at least three photographers because there to many, Lina Scheynius, Viviane Sassen and Ryan McGinley.
If you had to choose a camera + film to shoot with for the rest of your life, which combo would it be and why?
My Canon AE1 because it was my first camera and is still the one I prefer the most and a kodak ektar 100.
If you could time travel to the past and be the assistant of a great photographer, who would it be?
Can you share the weirdest situation you’ve faced being a film photographer?
I actually never faced a weird situation being a film photographer but I get asked a lot why I’m not shooting digital.
If you had to choose a movie that defines you both, personally and aesthetically, which one would it be?
Enter the Void is definitely the one.
Do you remember the photo you took that made you feel proud for the first time? Can you share it with us?
When I first saw this photograph I knew where I wanted to go as a photographer. I took this photo around 2012/13 when my best friend was shaving his head. The scar on his left hand happened two weeks before and I guess without the scar it would’t be one of my favorites.
At Whattaroll, we believe that inspiration can come from many different sides. Can you write down and share with us a paragraph from the book you’re reading at the moment?
I’m not reading a book at the moment but this is my favorite paragraph from my favorite book: Kids by Patti Smith.
“I understood that was matters is the work: the string of worlds propelled by god becoming a poem, the wave of color and graphite scrawled upon the sheet that magnifies his motion. To achieve within the work a perfect balance of faith an execution. From this state of mind comes a light, life-charged.”
Describe your shooting routine.
Normally, when I go somewhere, I see a picture I want to take and in the making I see many others and want to realize them all. That’s when I get really happy and never want to leave.
Speaking of portraits, who’s the face you’d love to photograph but haven’t had the chance to have in front of your camera yet?
There is not a specific face I’d love to photograph in the moment; I’m happy with everyone that runs in front of my camera.
Who do you think we should feature in the next Hero of the Week section?
There are many I’d love to see, such as Eylul Aslan, Manuel Estheim, Eva Paià, Tanya Vasilyeva, or Francesco di Marco.
See more of Rafael Schlager’s work in the links below: