Jan C. Schlegel was born in the Black Forest region of Germany in 1965. He discovered his passion for photography when he was only 14 years old, after participating in photography workshop that was held at his school. He won the Agfa photography competition and was granted a place in Walter Schels class at the Staatslehranstalt für Photographie in Munich, which is where he discovered his love for black and white photography. Toni Schneiders, one of Germany’s most prominent post-war photographers and a friend of Walter Schels, also became an important mentor to the young photographer. At 18 he studied for a further two years at a photography school near Lake Constance to become a fully trained, professional photographer. Today Schlegel teaches at the University of the Nations helping students to find their own artistic style and often travelling with them to Africa and Asia.
From 1998 Schlegel has frequently travelled to remote places in Africa and Asia. He saw local tribal traditions being replaced by more modern ways of life and wanted to document these tribes’ customs before they vanished. His portraits are not staged, instead he photographs his sitters exactly how as he finds them. The only stylistic device he uses is a backdrop, hung to help him focus the viewer’s attention on the sitter, not their environment. Often Schlegel spends weeks with a tribe before he photographs them to forge relationships with them and learn about how their society functions.
Schlegel uses a 4x5 view camera (Ebony SV45 TI) on traditional analogue film and without any digital image manipulation. He enlarges his images on silver gelatine paper and tones each print with a mixture of chemicals that he has invented himself, making each print is unique. For maximum longevity he then tones the prints with selenium.
Bernheimer Fine Art Lucerne has represented Schlegel since 2014 and he has been very successfully showcased at the Paris Photo fair. He had his first solo show in the Munich showroom in summer 2013.
Seit 2014 wird der Künstler von Bernheimer Fine Art vertreten und wurde mit großem Erfolg auf der Paris Photo präsentiert. Im Sommer 2013 fand die erste Einzelausstellung in den Galerieräumen in München statt.