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Stefanie Schneider (1968) is a German photographer living in Berlin and Los Angeles. Schneider's photographs exhibit the appearance of expired Polaroid instant film, with its chemical mutations. It has been released in books and exhibition catalogs, and in her own feature film 29 Palms, CA (2014). Her work has also been used as the cover art for music by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cyndi Lauper, and in the film Stay (2005).
Life and work
Schneider's preferred choice of location is the American West (especially Twentynine Palms, California, which served as location and title to one of her books), and the mounting of sequential images in a panel, the photographs evoke the impression of faded dreamy film stills. She holds an MFA in photography from the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany.
Schneider completed 29 Palms, CA in 2014. A feature film, art piece that explores the dreams and fantasies of a group of people who live in a trailer community in the Californian desert. The project includes six films: "Hitchhiker", "Rene's dream", "Sidewinder", "Till death do us part", "Heather's dream" and "The girl behind the white picket fence". A defining feature is the use of still Polaroid images in succession and voice over. Characters talk to themselves about their ambitions, memories, hopes and dreams. The latest of these short film is "Heather's dream", starring Heather Megan Christie and Udo Kier, and was selected in May 2013 by the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and is also nominated for the 2013 German short film award.
In a review of her book Stranger Than Paradise, Daniel Kothenschulte writes in the German magazine Literaturen that:
Stefanie Schneider is an internationally known artist that takes analog photographs and makes experimental movies with them. Schneider has cribed some of the titles of the series of her enlarged Polaroids from her favorite movies: Red Desert, Zabriskie Point or The Last Picture Show. Even if most images remain connected to the genre of road movies—in one case one seems to get a glimpse of Ridley Scott's tragic runaways Thelma and Louise.
"It was Stefanie Schneider, who inspired me to start the company THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT after seeing her work, which seems to achieve the possible from the impossible, creating the finest of art out of the most basic of mediums and materials. Indeed, after that one day, I was so impressed with her photography that I realized Polaroid film could not be allowed to disappear. Being at the precise moment in time where the world was about to lose Polaroid, I seized the moment and have put all my efforts and passion into saving Polaroid film. For that, I thank Stefanie Schneider almost exclusively, who played a bigger role than anyone in saving this American symbol of photography." Florian Kapps / founding President of Impossible Inc. March 8th 2010
Schneider has made album covers for the Red Hot Chili Peppers 2006 Desecration Smile single and Cyndi Lauper's 2008 Bring Ya to the Brink album cover. Schneider produced all the artwork in the 2005 film Stay directed by Marc Forster for the character played by Ryan Gosling. The end credits were also done with expired Polaroid film.
- Wastelands. Edition Braus, 2006. Edited by Thomas Schirmböck. ISBN 3-89904-211-5. With essays by James Scarborough, Megan Mullally, Mark Gisbourne, and Renée Chabria. Edition of 50 copies
- 29 Palms, CA. 2004. ISBN 3937623043. With an essay by Stefan Gronert, "The Greater The Emptiness The Grander The Art". Edition of 400 copies.
- Stranger Than Paradise. Hatje Cantz, 2006. Edited by Dominique A. Faix, Noëlle Stahel, and Daniela Bosshardt. ISBN 3-7757-1751-X. In German and English.
- 29 Palms, CA. Pocket Polaroid Series #004. Berlin: Schwarzer Freitag. ISBN 9-783937623-04-7.
- Daniel Kothenschulte: "Fehlfarbige Filmhelden regieren diese Welt: Stefanie Schneiders Foto-Band "Stranger than Paradise'", Literaturen, April 2006, p. 4. Online version retrieved 14 January 2010.