American photographer Christopher Schoonover describes his work as a blend of “tension, colour, calm” but his fashion images and portraits also pack more than a pinch of fun. “I think it’s probably my sense of humour unintentionally coming through a bit,” Christopher admits. “I can be a pretty immature person, but I’m very serious about my work. I really focus on this idea of isolation, but it comes in very bright visuals.”
Those bright visuals coat Christopher’s work with a retro sheen. “I have a strong attraction to the 60s to the 80s,” he says. “It was a really important time for style, music, art and culture.” His inspiration though, comes from the both past and present. “I look at a lot of old fashion photography books and scroll through Tumblr endlessly,” he says.
He’s shot for magazines including W Magazine, Spex No.369, Nylon, and for clients such as Gap, J. Crew, VSCO and New Balance. His favourite recent shoot, Christopher tells us, was “recently in Harlem — we got there just in time for golden hour. We were using this massive mid-century modern church as a backdrop. The model stood on the median in the middle of Seventh Ave as I fumbled around in the rush hour traffic trying to get the proper angle. It’s pretty romantic in hindsight.”
For his evident dedication, Chris likes to work on his own terms. “I really enjoy my free time,” he says. “I can’t put a price on that. I love working hard, but only at my own pace. It’s very important. Photography is always throwing me into situations that I’d never expect to be in, like chatting briefly one-on-one about fashion with Bill Nye. He wouldn’t remember.”
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