Guestagrammer of the Week: Schmoo Theune
Momenta welcomes this week’s guestagrammer, Schmoo Theune
Current job: Student/Freelance photographer
Current location: Berlin, Germany
Connection to Momenta: Attended 2015 New Orleans workshop, and hosted the 2015 San Francisco workshop at DxO HQ.
Tell us about your journey as an image-maker and how you got to where you are today.
I have always been afraid of not recording the world around us, as it passes so quickly while we’re busy with our lives. To document everything around us is the key to connecting our pasts with our future, and to communicate moments that we miss with the world.
Fine art and documenting your personal journey is one thing, but I quickly learned that there are many, many very important stories that aren’t getting told because of lack of resources or media attention. Once I realized this, I knew I wanted to help give these stories a voice and help preserve – and share – these parts of our culture that would otherwise go unnoticed.
I don’t know if I am anywhere significant yet today, but now that I’m free of the 9-5 grind I consider this chapter of my career to be vitally important.
What stories or issues are you most passionate about covering?
Cultural stories and traditions that have either stayed the same or are evolving to the times. I love history (local history) as well as the little practices that differentiate each culture, but usually go unnoticed because they are so commonplace if you’ve lived there all your life.
Where do you look for inspiration for your work: books, movies, authors, photographers, art, certain people?
First and foremost, in the people around me. That is the best and most accessible resource. Otherwise, I try to follow feeds that feature works by inspiring artists: British Journal of Photography, Magnum, VII Photo, The Photo Society, Nat Geo, NYT Lens, Social Documentary Network, Time, Lens Culture… I find platforms like Instagram the easiest to intake these days, although I also try and sign up for newsletters.
Since I’ve moved to a new continent, I’m trying to keep my eyes peeled for flyers and other events that I may not have heard of in the US.
What is one passion you have outside of photography that might come as a surprise to our readers?
Urban sketching with fountain pens. I make a concerted effort (if I have the time) to leave my camera at home and bring the sketchbook instead. I never bring both. Urban sketching is a quick, informal way to draw the world around you and it’s wonderful to slow down and be able to craft something that may not take shape at first. This is exactly what you don’t get with digital photography, because once you hit the shutter, the image is formed.
Drawing, too, allows poetic license. “Don’t document, design” is the tenet. You can always change the details to suit the piece, if that light pole is distracting, skip it. If the street is too crowded, don’t draw everyone. It’s a wonderful counterbalance to photojournalism which documents the chaos of real life.
What can we expect to see next week from your “guestagramming” on our Momenta Instagram account?
I’m going to surface a few pics from my NOLA workshop project, as well as a couple of images from a recent story from Tbilisi I did which built off of that experience. I hope to tie it together using the passion of visual storytelling.
#seizethemomenta, and follow @momentaworkshops on Instagram to see Schmoo’s great work!
About the author…
Jen May Pastores
Jen May Pastores is a research and development team member and content developer at Momenta Workshops. Her expertise is in visual communications and social media.