Wendi Schneider’s sensual and romantic photographs are often recognized for their focus on detail, grace of composition, and delicate balance between the real and the imagined. Her images are inspired by a passion for the natural world, a background in painting and art history and the lush beauty of her southern heritage.
A major contributor to the original Victoria magazine, she is also known for her hand-painted flower images, nearly 100 book cover photographs, and for designing, photographing and producing the recreation of the 1901 Picayune’s Creole Cook Book for Times-Picayune’s Sesquicentennial.
Born in 1955 and raised in Memphis, TN in a family of several generations of artists, she studied art history at Stephens College in Missouri, then graduated in painting and art history from Newcomb College/Tulane in New Orleans, where she studied with Hal Carney, Franklin Adams and Pat Trivignio.
She began making photographs in 1983 as reference for her figurative oil paintings. Enamored with photography, but missing the sensual qualities of paint, her early work consists of hand-painted black and white and sepia photographs, enhanced with delicate layers of transparent oil paint to create a heightened reality.
She was then employed as a designer and copywriter for The Times-Picayune newspaper's Marketing department. While there, she designed, photographed, art directed and produced the re-creation of The Picayune's Creole Cook Book - the classic 1901 cookbook, published in 1987, and republished by Random House shortly thereafter.
She moved to New York in 1988 to pursue a career in photography where commissions included fine art photographs, book cover photographs and editorial and advertising assignments. In addition to freelancing for Hearst magazines, she also photographed for The Berkley Group, Penguin Putnam, Random House, Bantam, Simon & Schuster, St. Martin's Press, Little Brown & Co., Warner Books, Sony Records, Young & Rubicam She continued to paint her photographs into the ‘90s, also working in Polaroid Transfers and transitioned to color slide film for much of her editorial work.
She moved to Denver in 1994 to wed and start a family, continuing to work for her NY editorial clients for several years and also began photographing for annual reports for Florida Atlantic University and portraiture. After the birth of her child in 1996, she spent taught several years primarily designing for a select group of web clients. Her primary client is the luxurious Pura Vida Fitness and Spa, for whom she is contracted for art direction, web and print design, digital display and photography. Recent projects include large backlit plexiglass photographs featuring details of Denver flora to illuminate the spa treatment rooms.
Returning to her love - photography - in the last year and a half, Schneider’s new body of work - States of Grace - encompasses an exploration and interpretation of the natural world, including painterly wildlife, flower and figurative images. She is working environmentally and with rescue organizations, at nature preserves and zoos and incorporating fundraising for rescue, education and conservancy organizations.
As in her early hand-painted photographs, the new images are sometimes layered, though instead of layering paint, she is creating layers of images and textures. Missing the hands-on technique of hand-painting, she is creating intimate nature portraits - pigment prints on vellum with hand-applied 24k gold, white gold, silver or copper leaf or pigment on metallic substrates - to create texture and drama, and to emphasize the precious quality of the subjects.
Below are some articles about her work.