steve is a seasoned krampuslauf dad, and someone we’ve counted on for great photographs of krampuslauf philadelphia since year one. he shoots a lot of costume events and we were so lucky to have him come and shoot the historic asperger’s are us comedy show at drexel university earlier this spring! check out his work under the Artis De Fiance profile on facebook.
listen to the conversation as it is embedded below, or on soundcloud.
BL: I’m Ben Levin, I’ve been involved with Krampuslauf since the beginning, here in Philadelphia anyway, and I’m talking with Steve Schultz. Welcome.
SS: Thank you for having me.
BL: Great. Let me start off with one question that should be pretty easy: how long have you been attending Krampuslauf Philadelphia?
SS: I’ve missed one year, and I think I’ve been three years running.
BL: What do you see as your role there, at Krampuslauf?
SS: I’m a photographer, and I like to document the individuals and the creative spirit of the event.
BL: What were your best expectations of the event before you started to go?
SS: I’m an event photographer, and I concentrate on costume-themed events. So my best expectations were to be able to have a good time, bring my wife and daughter, and see some amazing costumes and be able to document them, and deal with the challenges of limited light.
BL: And how did that all pan out?
SS: It turned out very well. The costumes were indicative of the spirit and creativity of the people who attended, and I was able to get some images that I’m very proud of. And, even though every time it’s been dark, I’ve been able to bring lighting or use my own lighting.
BL: What about your worst expectations. Were there any that fall into that camp?
SS: I was concerned about having a costume-themed event, especially something that might be polarizing, with demons and that kind of thing, in a larger environment, because you never know whose going to be insulted or upset by something that doesn’t tie into their personal philosophy, that kind of thing.
BL: How did you think that might affect you, if something like that happened?
SS: Well, I’ve been to events that involve mythical-themed costumes, such as Faerie Fest, that are protested by church groups.
BL: And what does that do to your role at those events?
SS: It just creates conflict; it makes people a little bit more testy, it makes people less willing to showcase their creativity, and to let the costume dictate the personality at the event.
BL: What for you is the most memorable moment of attending Krampuslauf Philadelphia?
SS: Well the Lauf is wonderful, and it’s a great event but really the best time for me is spending time with my wife and daughter there. I do get some great images and meet some wonderful people, but when my wife and daughter are enjoying themselves and getting all involved, ringing their bells and wearing their masks and shaking their puppets, I really enjoy that.
BL: How old was your daughter at the first Krampuslauf she attended?
SS: I think she was two.
BL: What did she think?
SS: Well, she didn’t talk a lot, but she sure enjoyed it.
BL: What did you think? Did you have any concerns or thoughts going into that, about bringing your daughter at that age?
SS: Actually not. We took our daughter to a lot of events and we just made sure that she was warm enough, and the people were certainly friendly enough; I had no concerns about bringing Zoe at all.
BL: You’ve talked about your experience as a photographer and at these costume-themed events; is there anyone about this one that is different, that you just sort of prepare yourself for?
SS: Well yes. It’s cold. But other than that, I know that when people put on a costume, they’re actually taking off layers of conformity. And what I look for when I go to a costume-themed event, and this one in particular, is the opportunity to see people when they’ve dropped their guard, and they’ve revealed themselves more by concealing themselves in costume. And that’s for me what happens, and that’s why I bring my camera; I like seeing people being open and free to not put on airs and not to conform to a day-to-day culture or to a corporate culture.
BL: That’s really interesting. You’re sort of back and forth and all over the event throughout it, do you have a chance to see, people I guess, before and after? And sort of compare the two?
SS: Yeah, I do. You see people walking in, and people who aren’t experienced with the event, sometimes come in and they’re looking around and they’re not sure what they’re gonna see; by the time they leave, they’re all smiling and happy. I think probably the warmest place, both interpersonally and physically, is of course by the fire. When people sit around by the fire or stand around by the fire, and they talk and they share a cup of hot cider, they seem to be the most – you know, taking the time to get to know each other. But then there’s also the walking around, and the marching, and people are walking side by side as individuals – I think that it’s the same way down by the stage, people are shoulder to shoulder and are looking out at something, when they interact at the fire, that’s when they’re the warmest.
BL: Well fantastic! Thank you so much for taking the time, and we hope to see you there this winter.
SS: Thanks for having me.