There's a special feeling generated within your chest when viewing the photos of Corla Schöner (@thelittlethings_love). Her pictures often represent some feeling of tenderness, fragility and innocence. Some days it might be the simple beauty of plants or flowers or fruits or creatures held lightly by fingers still raw with earth. Some days it might be the vision of soft morning sun rays weaving through patches of forest. Regardless, it's always amazing and gorgeous. We had the great privilege to speak with Corla recently and we learned a great deal about her and her inspirations. Read along!
My name is Corla. I am from Germany. I am a special needs teacher and I absolutely love my job. After school I take long walks with my dog, Lilli, and I take photos. I spend a lot of time in the forest or meeting people for shoots. Taking photos has actually just started to play a big role in my life. I bought my first real camera just over a year ago and from that moment on I was in love with photography.
I love the little things in life. They are pure and fragile, but at the same time so powerful that they can penetrate straight through our thick skins like a key to our souls, if we let them. A touch of a shadow on your skin, the tentative flight of an insect - these images capture our imagination, drawing us closer into details that lie without and within ourselves.
I believe photography can be a path on which the little things reach our own vulnerability which is so well hidden within us. This is the place of our fears, brokenness, and pain, but it’s also the birthplace of our own freedom, creativity, and joy. For me, photography is like an inside voice finding its way to speak out loud what I would not know how to put into words. It is not a loud voice, it is a gentle and mindful one. It does not come screaming after you telling you things you don't wish to hear or feel. But if you decide to listen for a moment it will never leave you empty handed. This is why I take photos.
Many of your images do focus on a small, delicate subject of some sort. What inspired you to take that route when you started taking pictures?
My soul always longs for small details in things. Even as a child I spent hours looking for the tiniest of stones or the smallest lines in wood my fingers could run along. I believe it brings inner peace and opens your eyes for the beauty and perfection around you. For me it hasn't changed. I still find beauty, balance, calmness and wholeness by capturing details. It is as if that focus and mindfulness towards these small pieces will make us whole again.
What was it that first attracted you to photography and using that as a means to freeze that beauty and perfection you find in the details?
I grew up spending weeks at a time living in an old, orange and yellow VW Bulli with my parents - hearing stories read at a campfire, drinking juice out of glasses hidden in rain boots and being photographed all the time as my dad is a photographer. That is where my passion for photography comes from. The only difference is that now I've secretly from in front of the lens to behind it.
When you approach a particular picture to edit, what does that editing process typically look like?
I enjoy editing my photos. Sometimes after a photo shoot I sit for hours or even several days until each photo is touching my soul. Editing to me is very emotional. You can so easily ruin a picture, but if you can read the emotion within the capture that wants to speak - which is still like a quiet poem. With editing you give it a voice and it's like real poetry - if it's well done, it leaves a small, sweet bruise somewhere on the writer and on the reader ( C.P. Estés).
When you use Mextures during your editing process, how do you typically use the app?
My editing includes a few different tools. I like to play with them until I find what I need to express what I feel. With Mextures I love the Radiance pack which allows me to enlighten my photo and add glow to parts where I want to catch the eye. I often find myself choosing a bit of Fore, Baren or Deject from the Atmospheric pack. I also truly enjoy the fall and summer formula packs as they bring warmth and soul to my work.
Do you feel like Mextures offers anything unique to your editing process?
What I really appreciate about Mextures is the almost never ending versatility that is offered to the user. Not just the ability to work with different blending modes and layers, but also to move the backgrounds, lights, effects and structures clockwise within the editing process makes Mextures a serious and sophisticated mobile editing program.
With a new year upon us, is there anything you hope to accomplish in regards to your photography?
I’d like to get more in to portrait photography but in my own way - vulnerable, fragile, honest to the bone and filled with real humility which is found in the perfect imperfections that make us human, special, and worthy of love.
Who are the people that have most inspired you?
A lot of photos and photographers, known and unknown, inspire me. The world, and of course Instagram, is full of fantastic talents and artists. Sometimes it is the entire work or the style of someone that makes me catch fire and sometimes it is one single photo that deeply starts something in my soul.
I really appreciate Anni Leibovitz's work. Not only her photos but also the emotions she shares by taking photos - becoming one with the camera and changing from a shy person into a strong woman is a very powerful message she shares.
On Instagram, Jenny (@jennygrasseschi) deeply inspires me. Her love, mindfulness and talent to capture the beauty of this world we were given touches me deeply and focuses my mind and heart on the really important things in life and always bring inner peace and graditude to me.
Kathryn (@kathryn_dyer) is also a huge inspiration to me. Her brilliant skills in capturing light in a photo without neglecting the dark is a very powerful talent that which encourages me to look at life with eyes of courage and faith.
Jessica (@sugarhouseworkshop) touches my creative side very deeply. Her talent and creativity shared through her beautiful photos bring to me a joy for being alive and always, always leaves me with the hunger to be more creative myself.
Also, Mckenzie Elisabeth (@mckenzie.e.ditter) inspires me enormously. She is such a powerful artist in many different art forms. Her photos of her work and life are filled with pure joy and the greatest colors. So much so that I just want to hop into them and join her.
Go take a look at more of Corla’s fantastic work here!