Jan C Schlegel - Tribes of Our Generation
Ever since the origins of humanity, geography has determined which culture, nation or ethnicity we belong to. Globalisation changes this, leaving many of us with unresolved questions. How do we become part of a culture? What are the mechanisms that determine the tribe we belong to - and how we choose to present ourselves?
Jan C. Schlegel is internationally recognised for his many classic and timeless portraits of indigenous people from around the globe. He recently made a fascinating discovery. He found aesthetic elements and symbols he recognised from his many travels within our own culture. Schlegel started making contact with people from different subcultures that interested him, and invited them to his studio. His subject matter in Tribes of Our Generation are people who act as role models in their subcultures, people who are linked together on instagram and other social media.
Jan C. Schlegel  was born and raised in Schwarzwald in Germany. He discovered photography at an early age. Schlegel works with a large format camera on traditional film. His images are not digitally edited - but magnified in a traditional darkroom and partially toned using an intricate technique that makes each photograph unique.
WILLAS contemporary is the first gallery to present 'Tribes of Our Generation' by Jan C. Schlegel. We invited the Norwegian Art Critic Lars Elton to write an essay on Schlegel's work. Tribes of Our Generation can be a gateway to increased understanding and respect for subcultures in our own society.
The black and white photographs from Jan C. Schlegel are taken with a 4x5 field camera (Ebony SV45 Ti) on traditional film (Kodak Tmax 400). The Negatives are developed in Kodak D76 Developer 1+1 dilution.
To enhance shadow detail and the appearance of sharpness, each Negative is sandwiched with a traditionally made unsharp mask. Highlight masks are used to increase highlight details in most of his prints.
Nothing is digitally edited, and the pictures are enlarged on fiber base photographic paper (Fomabrom Variant 111).
Afterwards each photographic print is partly toned (own mixture) in order to give each picture its special inner dynamics and depth. Often this process takes several hours and turns out differently with each print. This way each print is unique.
To finish the process, each picture is Selen toned which guarantees its maximum life and enhances the depth in the shadows.
The pictures are mounted on aluminium boards.