Dylan Schwartz: Behind the Lens
December 13, 2020
Dylan Schwartz (‘24) is a photographer in his free time. He feels connected to the relationship between restriction and freedom. The photo he is proudest of is a metaphor for this: a seagull landing on a pole. He has never edited it, which could be seen as a violation to the message it portrays.
“A seagull is in total control of its actions, like where it flies, but there’s still restrictions as to say it must come down to land at some point.” Schwartz described. “I managed to catch it specifically at this restricted part.”
“This idea of restricted freedom also comes into photography.” Schwartz said. “You’re in control of your own actions and what you decide to shoot, but at the end of the day photography is photography and you’re still limited by the things that already exist.”
Schwartz was first introduced to photography at the age of eleven. It has since consumed his life and his house, so much so that he converted a spare room into a studio.
On average, Schwartz spends about 10 hours a week taking and editing photos. He also started a brand to put his photos and edits on merchandise called Haute Avant (@hauteavant on Instagram), which means “high before” in French.
“Photography is about making something with a meaning” Schwartz said. “It’s not a way to pass time, it’s not a hobby, it’s trying to make something that people will think about and trying to make something that people will remember.”
Schwartz is very intent on spreading the idea of artistic photography, or the act of creating something deeper with photography rather than just taking photos.
He feels very strongly that artistic creativity is a much harder mountain to climb than mechanical skill.
“Material creativity is about what’s being shot and it’s about being creative with what you’re shooting” Schwartz clarified.
“Conceptual creativity is using everyday items that don’t normally have a deeper meaning to try and create the meaning.” Schwartz’s photos are unique and, without an analytical eye, seem confusing at first.
As with most art, Schwartz’s goal is to evoke thought. “Art is not about what the artist intends, it’s about what the viewer interprets.”
But, like all of Schwartz’s work, there is a deeper meaning. Is he the seagull? Is he caught and restricted at this one moment, but essentially free? Art is personal, and Schwartz recognizes that different people will have different thought processes, emotions, and reactions to his art. He, however, sees beauty in this.
“If art doesn’t have a single definition, then how can one of my works?”
Schwartz spends multiple hours taking and editing product photos. He will then email companies
with his results in hope to get a response. Check out some of Schwartz’s work in the slideshow below: