As a passionate explorer of physiognomy, Walter Schels is interested in making the essence and personality of a motif visible in photography.
For his series, which shows hospice patients shortly before and immediately after their death, he received numerous awards, including the Hansel Mieth Prize, the World Press Photo Award, a gold medal from the Art Directors Club Germany and a Lead Award.
Walter Schels has lived and worked in Hamburg since 1990. He has published numerous books, his works have been shown in many exhibitions at home and abroad and are part of important international art collections.
03-01-2019 - source
From the reflective gaze of a chimpanzee to the scrutiny of a house cat, Schels settles for none of the more common sentimental and sugary ideas of these animals but seeks and repeatedly finds undeniable and frequently comical evidence of their distinctive personalities and universal traits.
This book is recommended for large public libraries and, though not intended as such, will also make a delightful addition to well-endowed children's collections.
Debora Miller, Minneapolis
Which attitude accounts, perhaps, for the stunning quality of his black-and-white images of animals' faces, all presented, proper portrait-wise, against black or white backdrops.
Dunno about inner selves, but the camel looks like a bully, the bear looks like a bishop, and the pigs all look like city councilmen. Most impressive is the pictures' presentational force, thanks to which it is possible to stare enrapt at the elephant's head and ear that, with every wrinkle and texture of skin ruthlessly exposed, resemble nothing so much as a relief map of an alternative Africa.
He has thus achieved something unique in animal photography: astonished and strangely touched, we find ourselves confronted with an animal face that reminds us of human features.