B i o: Kevin Schley
Written by Tracy Brewer
Kevin Schley grew up in Idaho Falls, a small town in Southeast Idaho. The Snake River is born nearby and runs through the city. To the east, the Teton mountain range reaches high into the Idaho horizon. Kevin grew up, surrounded by beautiful trout streams and majestic mountain peaks. On one of many family fishing trips, Kevin, still a young boy, decided that he would dedicate his life to making photographs that would capture the beauty, which encircled him.
"I was on a fishing trip to Yellowstone Lake with my dad and two brothers. We were in canoes, in one of the southeast arms of the lake. The water was so clear it seemed as if we were floating on air. We camped on a small lodge pole pine covered island, about 100 yards off shore. It is one of the most beautiful places. Some time while fishing, canoeing, camping and swimming, dad pulled out his new Polaroid instamatic camera. I remember vividly, the sound the camera made as it thrust an undeveloped picture into my small hands. ( Ka CHUNKÉWiineeee ) I had experienced this process before but had never been so amazed watching the image of this place develop before my eyes. With a snap and a shutter, a new vision of the world was delivered into existence. This wonderful place was saved on film. My memories of this place would live on. Other people could look at these pictures and see what I had seen. That concept changed me forever. Everything I've seen since then, I see as if it were a picture."
Kevin got his first "real" 35mm camera as a high school graduation present. He had worked for the school newspaper and year book staff. He studied photography at college, where he learned and fine-tuned his photographic skills.
" College was interesting, because it was here that I received real criticism about my work. There was no mercy. Any small flaw was quickly pointed out. I made the experience pretty intense for myself. I really got into it. I spent every extra second in the darkroom, and most of my food money on film and photo paper. This hard work paid off. It gave me a great foundation to build upon. My work has come a long way from the first few hundred rolls of film I shot."
Kevin studied black & white, as well as color photography in school. A course on studio lighting had particular affect.
"It all seemed to come together for me in the studio. I learned, not just how to light in the studio, but how to see and understand light. Outside of the studio I could sense when light was good or bad. It was an awakening."
Shortly after Kevin graduated college he took a job working with a location, portrait photographer in Utah. He then accepted a position as an "in-house" photographer for a modeling agency, which he soon became disenchanted with.
"Doing portraits was a good thing, because it got me into a different, more diverse market. But, there wasn't much money. The modeling agency I shot for turned out to be kind of a joke. Their business was poorly run and I felt the models were not well represented. I could only take their unprofessionalism for a few months and quit even though I was broke. "
Disappointed and out of money, Kevin took a job with a seminar company. He would travel every weekend, setting up and running business seminars. A few months into this job, Kevin was given the opportunity to speak at one of the seminars, when one of his co-workers was unable. He ended up doing so well, the company asked him to be a permanent speaker. He enjoyed this job because he would only need to speak for an hour and then he was free to wander
"I took one of my favorite photos, while I was in Cleveland. People were walking through the courtyard, during a light rain. One lady had a red umbrella, the rest carried black ones. It was a difficult picture to get. All of the windows were bolted shut. I had to search around the room to find some kind of tool. Finally I pried a window open just enough to get a lens though a small opening. I did a quick calculation on the exposure and shot only one frame."
When the corporation that Kevin worked for went out of business he took all the money he had and moved to Hawaii. He shared a room a couple of blocks from the beach. He couldn't find a job, so he spent most of his time snorkeling and spear fishing.
"Hawaii was a great experience. It was the first time I was able to spend time around the ocean. I didn't have enough money for food so I would spear fish for my supper. My landlord's father taught me how. He showed me which fish were good to eat and which to stay away from. After a couple of lessons with him I ate really well. Fresh fish , lobster and coconuts picked up off of the beach. I was still stressed about money and was always looking for a job. Finally after a month and a half I got a job shooting tennis tournaments at a hotel. I was paid $100 per day, for shooting and a commission on print sales. Just when I started feeling comfortable I called home and found out that my oldest sister contracted Lupus and was not doing well. I decided I should go home."
Kevin returned home to Idaho Falls and spent a few months with his family while his sister recovered. Once she was well, he moved back to Utah and found a job at a photo lab.
The photo lab was a tough job. I worked long hours, 70-80 hours a week. I made enough money to by cameras, lenses and tons of film. On Fridays I would take off as soon as I was finished with my work, and drive all night to make it to some place cool for sunrise. I would shoot for the weekend, sleep for a few hours and drive home. I was totally consumed with photography. I loved going to all of these magical places, Moab, Zion, Yellowstone and the Tetons."
It was from these weekend trips that Kevin started to build his stock photo library. He photographed rock climbing, fishing, hiking and biking. He rented a small studio/office to make stock sales and started shooting commercial and editorial jobs. Kevin has had a steady stream of work for the last 18 years.
His work has ranged from stills for films such as Touched by an Angel, to display prints for Fuji film USA. Kevin's photographs have appeared in numerous magazines including, Outside Magazine and Western Angler as well as many catalogs and advertisements.
"I think I have developed a unique style from my experiences. The places I have been, the hard times and the good times all have added to my style. I look for great subject matter in great light. I photograph in such a way that the images speak to whoever sees them. I like to call it, " the adventure of living and the poetry of life ".
Kevin currently resides in Salt Lake City. He is married to Fine Art Photographer, Anita Eralie-Schley. Kevin and Anita have 4 children adopted from Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and China.