Thinking back on almost a half century of image-making there is diversity in what interests my heart and eye. The word beauty has been a central theme from the beginning. It may be an out-of-date word, but I will stick with it. Beauty elevates the soul and describes the inner state of being in a place of wonder.
I remain active in making images, I think in part because I have remained inquisitive and love the positive pursuit of the elusive, always looking for something to reveal its potential. In a sense, I go out to take images; but maybe more importantly, they have come to me. It’s as if there is a space inside of me, kind of like a room, that loves to collect scenes of unintended beauty.
In his almost five decades of photography, Michael Schultz has created a unique visual language. The enormity of place, time, scale and humanity is always present, no matter the subject matter.
Unintended Beauty, presents images from two recent bodies of work: Grain Silos and Stone Quarries. The photographs of grain silos show us the texture, rhythm, and color of practicality, function and decay. The silos, made to perform a specific job, are transformed to a study of geometry and light by Schultz’s photography. The quarries, at first glance, seem to be studies in abstract patterning, but, a second look reveals vast stone landscapes, carved out and shaped by human determination and machines. The huge scale of the quarry sites is hard to comprehend until one sees the minuscule ladders scattered vertically throughout the stone and occasionally a workman, in a fluorescent safety vest, who looks to be the size of an ant. Neither subject matter was designed to be beautiful. Beauty is shown to us through Michael Schultz’s extraordinary personal photographic vision.
Michael Schultz was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and an Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 2010. In addition to his fine art photography, Schultz continues to work on photographing large industrial iron and steel foundries around the world.
The photographs of Michael Schultz are held in the public collections of the Guggenheim Foundation, NY; St. Petersburg Museum of Art, FL; The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Dayton Museum of Art, OH; Emprise Bank, Wichita, KS and others.