Interview: Chris Schmelke Talks Photography, Conventions and More!
We’re back with a twist on our Fandom Photographers Spotlight, which will be highlighting more fandom photographers in the next coming weeks. We got the chance to interview photographer Chris Schmelke, who is a photographer and is also the face behind the camera taking your favorite photo-ops at Creation Entertainment conventions.
Read along as he talks about photography and more.
Nerds and Beyond: How did you get started with photography? When did you decide you wanted to pursue it?
Chris Schmelke: Came from my dad, and View-Masters which I loved. There was something incredible for me about looking through something and realizing I had then power to capture what I wanted. My dad had many cameras, and I always had cameras with me when I was young.
Nerds and Beyond: How did you get involved with convention photography?
Schmelke: It would be a 70 page essay but the short version was my Mom who worked at Creation from 1986 until she passed. That was my connection and then when I got back into photography was right after my band broke up. That was when this whole thing started. Right place, right time, and still rings true to this day how lucky I am.
Nerds and Beyond: What has been your favorite photo you’ve ever shot?
Schmelke: My phone pic of my son when I first held him. Sniffle..
Nerds and Beyond: What has been the most challenging photo shoot you’ve ever done?
Schmelke: When I am doing something, I don’t really think that way. There are always problems that need solving. Be confident in yourself, and fix it. I’m like the Wolf (Harvey Keitel) in Pulp Fiction without having to clean brains out of a car.
Nerds and Beyond: Besides people, what are your favorite things to shoot?
Schmelke: Abandoned landscapes, whether it may an abandoned amusement park or missile silo, there is something incredible in how quickly nature takes over something that was recently something else.
Nerds and Beyond: What equipment do you usually use?
Schmelke: Leica cameras and lenses. It was at a point when I did not want to take my huge SLR out any more and finding there was something unique and challenging with using a fully manual camera. The fact it was much lighter and smaller was something I used much more frequently. The equipment and tools we use has to inspire us in some way for us to want to use them.
Nerds and Beyond: For someone with some photography background who is wanting to get more serious, what are the must-have lenses?
Schmelke: Low light cameras and lenses. There are so many and I can’t keep up. Depends on budgets, history etc. www.dpreview.com has many reviews that are unbiased. Look for cameras that have low noise with high iso.
Nerds and Beyond: What photographers inspire you?
Schmelke: Honestly, my inspiration comes mostly from films. I am a total dork for science fiction and not surprisingly, westerns.
Nerds and Beyond: You recently had your own photography Q&A/Meet and Greet at a convention. What was that like? What did you think about it?
Schmelke: Honestly was quite the fun time. I’ve heard that I scare the crap our of some fans that don’t know me. I’m just deranged and being able to answer questions and talk about what I do was a blast.
Nerds and Beyond: How have the Supernatural conventions changed your life? What is your favorite part about them?
Schmelke: Working with an incredible cast who I consider some of my closest friends and getting to make people happy all day is something I’m proud to do. I wanted this to always be something to look back with great joy and besides the burning pain in my calves, I will never forget these days.