Mara Blom Schantz


Artist Statement

My vision for my art is based upon what evokes wonderment and emotion in myself. I am drawn to people and animals for my subjects because of the energy and life that they emit. I want the images I create to make the viewer think about what they are seeing and have a strong emotional reaction, whether it is happiness, curiosity, peacefulness, wonder or longing.

I have always worked with film and film cameras and could not imagine creating images any other way. I can see the image in my mind’s eye and know how it will look before I see the finished work.

For my personal work, the work I am submitting here, I have used four cameras: a Hasselblad 500 CM with both a Carl Zeiss Planar 2.8/80mm lens and a Carl Zeiss Sonnar 150mm lens; a Holga; a Canon EOS 3 with a Canon 1.2 85 mm lens; and a Sea and Sea underwater camera. The film used for the Hasselblad and the Holga cameras is Kodak Trix 120, either 100 or 400 speed. The film for both the Canon EOS 3 and the Sea and Sea is Kodak Trix 35mm 400. I have my film processed and scanned for viewing and then print and tone the selected prints by hand in my wet darkroom.


I was three when my father started at Brooks Institute of Photography and I cannot remember a time when photography was not a huge part of my life. Because of my dad’s love for photography, our house was filled with an abundance of photography books and I used to sit and look through them for hours, trying to figure out the stories of the subjects.

My own education in photography began when, at 13, I started working for my parents in their photography studio. The intense education was both through guidance from my father, as well as trial and error. I worked as my dad’s wedding assistant and in my parents’ studio through high school and college.

I started my own portrait photography studio in 1998 and, in addition to doing commissioned portraits, have created a body of personal work. For this work, I use exclusively black and white film, in all formats, but currently mostly medium format. I am now focusing more on this work, and am printing limited editions (signed and numbered) of my images in the wet darkroom.

I currently live and work in Phoenix, Arizona but photograph all over the world.

Mara Blom Schantz
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