Over the course of his career, director / photographer Wilhelm Scholz has mastered the art of creating the right place at the right time. From Alaska to Hong Kong, from Libya to Peru, he has captured moments in ways that seem to have never occurred before or since.
The Spanish-born, half-German lensmaster added Chicago to the locations that will benefit from his talent last month by signing with Quriosity Productions. After reading about the shop’s success on a Purina campaign, he thought that it “sounded like a very nice team to be part of.”
“I liked the philosophy of the work,” he explains. “They were into photography and film.”
Scholz joins a select group of Quriosity directors with professional photography backgrounds. According to senior producer Jenny Lumpkin, they not only complement the shop’s ongoing expansion, but also come equipped for the work.
“We’re starting to get more and more calls and we’re creating more content than ever,” she explains. “They tell beautiful stories with pictures already.”
Scholz crossed a multitude of international borders and artistic genres on his way to Quriosity. He arrived in New York from Spain 12 years ago to pursue an advanced degree in journalism. His ambition to be a war photographer helped land an internship at NBC, where he quickly discovered that he wanted to do something else.
“It was not what I thought it would be,” he explains. “Then I decided to shoot some stories on my own and see if I can pitch them.”
The inspiration began with basic landscapes and grew into detailed personal portraits.
“I used to do a place,” he says. “Now I do who is this person and what are they about.”
This documentary style offered Scholz an opportunity to indulge his passions for location and people.
A female boxing champion in Nicaragua, a middle-aged butcher in Libya, people throughout New York City, refugees all over the world and three members of Pink Floyd are just a few of the images that showcase the breathtaking drama of his style.
But, by definition, the genre did not allow time for the “design approach” that he also favors.
“My commercial photography is very produced,” he explains. “But it is all very design oriented.”
This regard for detail adds energy to his work, especially in the automotive category. Mountains, birds and sunbeams move the viewer’s eye towards the cars. Roadways, furniture and beach houses frame them.
“In print, there is a lot of directing involved,” he explains. “Creating a situation, and a continuous aspect of the shot.”
The experience helped him step into film because, he says, both expressions rely on a sense of rhythm. Print is “one big bang.” Motion is a “sequence of moments” that he compares to music.
“You start with a certain feel,” he says. “It goes high, low and ends.”
By combining this emotional mood with his expertise for perfecting composition and shooting portraits, Scholz layers a captivating mystique within every motion piece that he shoots.
Dunlop’s Street Tennis adds a bright splash of color to a believable inner cityscape. Nikon’s White in Their Eyes is an eerily compelling fashion horror show. AXE’s Murder plays like a cross between Grand Budapest Hotel and The Salton Sea.
A number of factors set Scholz’ apart from other directors, but the most unique may be his commitment to getting the story straight. His ability to communicate has been tested all over the globe.
“Collaboration is a team effort,” he explains. “You have to translate the wish of the client.”