Leaf Aptus-II 12
"When you want to be at the top level – shoot the best brands and be displayed in the top magazines – you’ve got to be ready when they demand that you shoot with the best."Tom Schierlitz
Tom Schierlitz lives and works in New York City – the same place where he got the break that launched his career as a photographer. A leading still-life and advertising photographer, Tom’s works have been displayed on the pages of some of the world’s biggest magazines like GQ, New York Times Magazine, Wired and Bon Appétit. Tom also specializes in still-life for advertising and his client roster includes the likes of UBS, Nine West, Tommy Hilfiger, Kiehl’s, Kleenex, Vaseline, Lee Jeans, Perry Ellis and Liz Claiborne to name just a few.
As befits a photographer of his caliber Tom owns a number of Leaf Aptus backs, including the Leaf Aptus 75S and the 80MP Leaf Aptus-II 12. The Leaf Aptus-II 12 offered Tom an excellent upgrade to his Leaf Aptus 75S as it not only boosted the details and image quality in his work, it also enabled him to maintain consistency between his new shots and his earlier work.
“When you want to be at the top level – shoot the best brands and be displayed in the top magazines – you’ve got to be ready when they demand that you shoot with the best. They hear in advertising that there’s a new 80MP back out and if you don’t have it you won’t get the job. There are plenty of advantages to shooting with the 80MP, especially when I want to shoot big and detailed – the results are amazing, it’s a really really cool back.”
“When my dealer let me test out a Leaf back I immediately liked the Leaf characteristics. The way Leaf backs render color is superior to any other back I’ve seen. Every so often we test out all the latest backs and the Leaf back always wins out. The amount of different green tones and brown tones that my Leaf Aptus-II 12 produces makes my images look like old fashioned high quality C-prints.”
Tom Schierlitz was born and raised in Germany. He took his first steps in photography at the age of 14 when he built a darkroom in his parent’s house to develop the pictures he’d started shooting. Tom had an education in banking, but soon came to the realization that he’d rather do photography during the day and rest at night than be a banker during the day and take photographs at night. He then studied photography in Dusseldorf and assisted some of Germany’s top photographers before coming to New York City in 1987.
In New York City Tom soon immersed himself in the local photography scene by working for the Village Voice doing lots of black and white portraits. “Word spread and I got my first big break shooting still-life for NY Times - from there my career navigated its own course."
Tom draws his inspiration from the interesting life that surrounds him in New York City. “Life inspires – the main thing is to lead an interesting life. What you do in life should translate into your pictures. When I’m interested in a particular subject I really like to delve down into it. Curiosity and science blend when looking to get to the bottom of a subject and it is this combination that keeps it interesting. Live life like you mean it and take pictures like you mean it. People shouldn’t find inspiration from copying last year’s photo awards books.”
Tom’s earliest forays into the realm of medium-format began with a Hasselblad 500C camera with a crank that he bought when he was 20. Before going digital, he shot mostly 8x10 and 4x5 color negative film and made C-prints in his own color darkroom.
Tom was an early adopter of digital processing, using a drum scanner to make prints from his 8x10 negatives. “I crave control in my work, and using the scanner gave me more control over workflow. Moving to digital made life much easier as film is an environmental nightmare. Before digital we would literally go through a large garbage can of Polaroid waste each day, and a couple of drums of bleach fix from the darkroom. I had no problem ‘making the switch to digital’ as I always kept my eye on the goal; as long as the process gave me enough control to achieve my goal I was good with it.”
Tom uses Leaf Capture software because it provides him the easiest workflow process. As he often shoots in a studio environment, his RAW images are automatically processed through Leaf Capture and then transferred directly to an internal server for post-production. “ I began shooting with Leaf Capture – and enjoy the simplicity of Leaf Capture.”