Visual Artist Wayne Schoenfeld Balances Fantasy and Reality

Wayne Schoenfeld OMP Member #169859 does not describe himself as a photographer; instead, he refers to his occupation as “storyteller and psychological explorer.” To him, the camera is just the tool. “I’ve always been interested in narrative. Photography grabs me most when the image tells a story that I can become immersed in. The camera is my tool to not only tell my journalistic stories, but to sort out my own internal dialogue about the world and to explore the subjective.”

Is this artistic vision that has lead Wayne to world-wide recognition. In 2007 the world-famous Cirque du Soleil hosted a private one-man exhibition of Wayne Schoenfeld’s images from his “Circus of Life” and the “Circus of the Past” series at its Montreal Exhibition Center. “I shot a circus tableau in 2005 on spec. It was picked up by a gallery in Montreal. While on display there, one of the directors of Cirque du Soleil saw it, and we’ve had a very close relationship since then. During that period, I shot one of my biggest shoot, the Circus of the Past in which I completely recreated a traveling circus of the Great Depression Era.” Hewlett Packard published the images in a book entitled “ICONS and ICONOCLASTS: North American Circus 1930-1940.”

From the description of the circus-themed shoot, it sounds like Schoenfeld served as a ringmaster to a wide variety of thematic elements. “That shoot had 52 models, actors, and performers. We staged a fully produced circus with wild animals, including a 12,000-pound elephant. We used three makeup trailers, and enough lights to brighten up a small city. I guess that is part of what makes my shooting unique — the scale of the projects. However, at the end of the day, it’s still just me with a camera taking a picture.”

Schoenfeld discovered by accident. “I was surfing for models on the Internet, and came upon OMP. I think it was shortly after it got started. I liked the concept and have used it to cast my shoots. It’s given me the confidence that, especially on short notice, if I need a professional model I can find one and contact him or her directly.”

To other photographers just starting out, Schoenfeld offers the following words of advice. “If you want your work to stand out, be sure it stays your work, and not just a copy of what you’ve seen someone else do. Trust your heart and your vision to be unique. Never forget that the camera is just a tool – the art is inside of you.”

For more information and insight on this incredible artist, visit Schoenfeld’s OMP Portfolio or check out his website at

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