Ever since photographer Rob Schanz won the Heart Throb award in the first ever BLDG 25 Blog Love Awards late last year, I’ve been wanting to do a feature on this talented man. When we read the submission letter, sent in by Rob’s girlfriend, we all kind of fell a little bit in love with him. Here’s what she had to say:
“He’s not only a heartthrob. He’s the sweetest guy I know. He’s a free bird… a self proclaimed lone wolf. He’d go anywhere on a whim and is constantly looking for adventure. All the while documenting every moment in astounding photographs. He’s dedicated to the journeys life brings him and making sure his youth is used wisely and wildly. His name is Rob Schanz and he does it all for the freedom.”
Where are you from?
I was born in Morristown, New Jersey. But it’s hard to say where I’m from. 13 years in New Jersey, 4 years in Maryland, 5 years in Florida and now San Francisco.
When did you discover your love of photography?
My dad is a photographer and always had his pictures hanging on the wall. I think seeing them inspired me. He taught me a lot of the fundamentals and helped me get started. My first camera was one of his old Nikons. I really owe a lot of my success to one of my professors from college too. He gave me the opportunity to cover the NFL and that changed everything for me.
Do you remember the first photo you ever took?
I had a Panasonic point and shoot camera for awhile but I don’t think I ever took any meaningful pictures with it. The first set of photos I took were with my dad’s old Nikon in St. Augustine, FL. He mailed me the camera and then about 2 weeks later there was a relatively rare thick foggy morning, so I went out and took photos downtown.
What is your favorite subject to shoot?
Lately, I’ve really been into taking fashion related photos. However, landscape photography (nighttime in particular) has really been interesting to me. I think it’s so cool that you can take a picture of the night sky and see more stars than you could even imagine.
What is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
This is such a tough one! I love Germany. There is a nice village in the Alps called Garmisch-Partenkirchen that may be my favorite place. It’s so gorgeous and the people are really nice. I’ve traveled there 3 times. I still stay in touch with some good friends who live there.
Who are some of your greatest inspirations?
I often think about how I don’t really follow any particular photographers and I’m not sure if that just means I’m ignorant or I’m trying to push my own limits without seeing others’ work. Of course I get inspired by photos I see but I don’t keep up with anyone. There is this one photographer, Damien elroy Vignaux, who shoots some really cool stuff. His photos and client portfolio are definitely and inspiration and motivation for me.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A great photographer, Terry Heffernan, told me: “Just remember that you have one opportunity to impress someone, mediocre never impresses, my advice is to only show quality“. I constantly think about this, it’s something obvious but it meant a lot to hear it from someone who has been really successful.
What was your reaction when you found out you were nominated – and won! – the FP Love Award for Heart Throb?
Haha, well, I was flattered, surprised and confused. At the end of the day I want to create something that moves people and inspires them. Whether its the photo or just the fact that I’m pursuing my dream. Hopefully that’s what people see.
For more of Rob’s work visit his website: forthefreedom.com.
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