by Karl Schoemaker

Elliot Irwin’s quote about photography is what I subscribe to. It reads: “Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

I apply this theory to much of my work, whether it be through the use of a different lens or angle, or simply waiting for the right shadow play, or position of the subject…an inflection if you would, much like the change in pitch or tone of a voice. Sometimes an image can also be about what you don’t show, what you don’t photograph… what you leave out of the image with a clever crop.


I have always believed that an image should tell a story. There’s the story within the image, and more importantly, the story conjured by the viewer.

So in essence, an image can create an infinite number of stories… very few of them true, except for the truth at that exact millisecond known by very few. This applies not only to photography, but to a multitude of visual arts and realities.

But sometimes.

Sometimes, an image doesn’t need to have a story.

Sometimes, an image is about appreciation.

For texture, a bold colour or juxtaposition, even a pattern… a hidden abstraction within the world we live in.

These abstractions are all around us, you just have to look…and see, the patterns in the whole.



Karl offers commercial and industrial photography in a professional capacity and uses the travel opportunities this affords him to collect images from around the world. Having completed an Honours Degree in Fine Art (Photography) at Rhodes University under the guidance of renowned photographer Obie Oberholzer, Karl worked as a photographer in Johannesburg. His career path saw him veer into the corporate (mining) world of information technology and knowledge management until, in 2008, he moved to Port Elizabeth and returned to photography full time.

Karl has contributed to numerous group shows over the years, and has held solo shows in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and London. Karl shares Elliot Erwitt’s view that “photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them”. Karl invites viewers to adopt new perspectives and surprises them with the unexpected beauty of the everyday.