JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
MARSHALL SCHEIDER: I think at different points in my childhood I aspired to be a writer, an illustrator, a musician, and an archaeologist
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
MS: I’ve just finished reading three books of writings on photography by Robert Adams- Beauty in Photography, Why People Photograph, and Along Some Rivers. They are all incredible books, and important in my opinion for anyone interested in pursuing “straight” photography as fine art to read. Adams’ work and thoughts are very inspiring to me at the moment.
JC: What are you up to right now?
MS: Shooting a lot; I have a couple of different ideas/themes I’m playing with and chasing down at the moment. I’ve been thinking a lot about book making, and building cohesive portfolios. I’m currently reading Camera Lucida and trying to break down Barthes’ thoughts on photography.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
MS: My father was a prolific street photographer and a great artist. We had a darkroom in the house growing up, and though I didn’t pick up a camera until I was a teenager, I think my father’s eye and approach has had a major impact on the artist I am now.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
MS: I moved to Brooklyn last August. It’s had a pretty significant effect on the work I am creating. I moved from Oregon, where I grew up, and was working in a somewhat meditative and methodical manner prior to leaving. I was shooting a lot of large format work and was exploring a spaciousness that exists in the West that I have not found on the East coast. As a photographer, your physical location and your work are inseparably tied. I’m working a lot more in 35mm here, and allowing my work to be messy. It’s the only way I’ve found to honestly photograph New York.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
MS: I don’t really know. I myself am not a photography graduate. Think critically about the work you want to create, and create it.
In Beauty in Photography, in an essay on criticism, Adams puts forth three simple questions posed by Henry James to be used for critiquing art: What is the artist trying to do? Does he do it? Was it worth doing? I have been trying to use this as a guide for myself in editing and building portfolios, and find it helpful, though not always easy. Why am I creating this work is an important question to ask.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
MS: Continue to make photographs regardless.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
MS: I think that it is for me, but that community does not necessarily have to be physical and tangible. I find a sense of community in reading photographer’s thoughts on photography, and seeing work that is inspiring to me- in person, online, in print- if you are involved in the medium, you are part of the community, part of the discussion.