F. Scott Schafer
F. Scott Schafer (http://www.fscottschafer.com) is an American Photographer based in Los Angeles. An honoree graduate of Art Center College of Design, his stylized brand of portraiture has captured the essence of prominent personalities and entertainers for the past 25 years. Scott’s award winning iconic images, which embody a unique style of concept, humor and lighting, have been produced for such clients as Intel, HBO, Showtime, Aflac, Sonos, Yahoo!, Netflix and Pepsi to name a few. He has most recently photographed President Barack Obama at the White House, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Gold Medalist Michael Phelps, Tennis Champion Serena Williams, Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and Basketball Star Lebron James. Scott has travelled and photographed portraits of people in Southeast Asia, India, and Nepal. The powerful images of the wonderful people he encountered along his travels were captured with a vintage Polaroid camera in timeless black and white. Scott is currently working on a series of portraits call WORDS UNCAGED. A collection of intimate portraits of inmates from California State Prison in Lancaster that are swerving life without parole sentences. In conjunction with California State University Los Angeles, the images are paired with writings and artwork from these fascinating men who have come to terms with their crimes and have made a commitment to educate and rehabilitate themselves; in an effort to better serve their fellow inmates.
LACP Interviews F. Scott Schafer
LACP asks F. Scott Schafer ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
F. Scott Schafer: I’m a portrait photographer working commercially in the entertainment and advertising industry. I love photographing people from prominent personalities and entertainers to prisoners serving life sentences and monks in India. My images embody a unique style of lighting, concept, humor and drama.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
FSS: 25 years professionally but I started taking pictures of rock concerts for fun when I was in high school.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
FSS: Art Center College of Design
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
FSS: Around the age of 18 when I took my first Fine Art Photography class at Diablo Valley College. I also discovered Annie Leibovitz and Ansel Adams which is an odd combo but it made perfect sense to me. I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life for better or worse!
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
FSS: Yes many times when I was younger. Most people told me that I couldn’t make a living taking pictures. It’s better to get a steady job and take pictures for fun. until I was accepted at ACCD.
That gave me the opportunity to truly immerse myself in the work. I’ve never been more determined and worked so hard in my life. Giving up is not an option for me…I wouldn’t know what else to do. The hard part is continuing to push myself and evolve. It’s a long term relationship that I have to work at to stay in love with it!
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
FSS: My sanity mainly!! I’ve missed out on a few family vacations here and there. Being a freelance photographer is just difficult on the nerves at times. You don’t have a fixed income and work comes when it comes, there are no guarantees. BUT I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to take pictures for a living. It’s a dream come true….I’m so grateful!
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
FSS: I know it sounds cliche but it’s given me everything!! I was a kid from the suburbs with no art background or influence. I somehow landed at Art Center and the whole world opened up to me. It’s amazing!! I’ve learned that going for your dreams is not a joke. They can come true if you truly commit and stay persistent. But you have to love it or it’ll be a tough road!
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
FSS: The enthusiasm I see in students when the light comes on and they begin the evolution of becoming an artist. I love the craft of photography and it’s fun to share my experience and knowledge like my instructors did for me when I was a student. It’s incredibly inspiring for me.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
FSS: Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot some more!! Scrub toilets for photographers you admire for free….it’s the best education you’ll ever receive. Be humble, work hard, be easy going and fun to be around. Be grateful to those who help you and never give up!!