By Geoff Mueller / Fly dreamers’
[dropcap]A[/dropcap] photographer walks into a bar and finds a crumpled man ploughing through endless glasses of vodka Bloody Marys. Chewing on a boozy olive from the elixir, the man begins to cough and choke and shoot tomato-y fizz from his nose. The photographer now has two choices: Heimlich, or snap the shot. The question, then, becomes this: Which lens is most appropriate for the occasion?
Colorado-based flyfishing photographer, Russell Schnitzer, isn’t one to let the down-and-out suffer, but he is someone immensely fascinated by human idiosyncrasies and experience. Whether those moments stem from dimly lit dive bars or occur on Pacific Northwest rivers shaded by towering evergreens, it doesn’t matter. The appeal transcends all.
In his late teens Schnitzer began to “see” things as still frames in his mind. “Moments, landscapes, scenes, expressions, and details, lots of details,” he says. Those nuanced views entered a mental photoshop, where they were captured and processed. And even without a camera, “I began the lifelong process of establishing and refining a photographic vision.”
Today, with camera firmly affixed to face, Schnitzer is busy lending his inspired view to flyfishing and conservation publications, as well as clients such as Scientific Anglers, and ranching operations across the American West. Always in search of the next dynamic shot, he’s convinced that finding diamonds is a matter of scratching beyond the peripheral, diving into the guts of what drives people to think and do, and sourcing the foundational elements that bring authenticity to the places we fish.