and photography have always played a large part of Ted
Preuss' life. A self-taught artist, he has run the gambit
of photographic subjects including architectural photography
in San Francisco as well as furniture design in Chicago.
wasn't until recently however that he was able to realize
a long time goal of pursuing the nude. For Ted Preuss,
using the camera is not just about clicking a picture;
it's a passion and a vision realized. He insists on using
traditional techniques, including a large format view
camera with black and white sheet film. After the film
is developed, he prints his images onto hand-coated platinum/palladium
paper. With their wide range of tones, platinum prints
are exceptionally beautiful.
What first drew you to the medium
I have been taking photographs for as long as I can remember,
but it was not until recently that I had the chance to pursue
fine art photography. When I was eight years old, I found
an instamatic camera while hiking in the Rocky Mountains.
I fell in love with documenting everything I saw and everything
that had meaning to me. My basic philosophy is summarized
by, "Do what you love and love what you do."
You mentioned work as an architectural photographer. In
what ways do you approach nude differently? Are there any
similarities between the two subjects?
I always knew I wanted to be a photographer, and one of my
passions is architecture, so in the past, I merged my photography
skills with this field. In addition, because architectural
photography does not require the expense of a studio, it
was a reasonable entry point at a time when I required a
steady income. After 10 years of shooting architecture in
San Francisco and several years managing a stock photography
company in Chicago, I made the transition to pursuing my
My approach today is very different — I photograph for myself
only without clients, art directors or deadlines. There are
similarities between my past and present photography, in
both cases, I always maintained my focus on the lines of
my subjects, to show their beauty.
I noticed you work primarily in a large format medium,
which is becoming a rarity these days. What is it about large
format photography that motivates you to spend the extra
time processing, dealing with large bulky cameras, etc.?
I became very comfortable shooting with a large format camera
through my architectural photography work. However, the main
reason I use this format is that my platinum/palladium printing
technique requires contact prints exposed with ultra-violet
light. William Willis introduced platinum printing in 1868.
Another passion of mine is antiques and art from the old
masters. This was what inspired me to pursue this medium;
it complements my style for a distinct vintage feeling. Platinum
images are among the most permanent graphic images, in any
Do you feel that being a self taught photographer has
worked to your benefit in the long run?
That is a hard question to answer at this time; perhaps I
can answer it in 20 years? So far, I do find it a benefit;
I feel I have more control of my creativity; I also have
had positive remarks from galleries and collectors who comment
on my unique style.
What do you look for in your models?
In my current series, I am looking for classical, natural
beauty. My aim is to capture a timeless feeling in my images.
In addition to models with this style, I use fabrics to create
a vintage sense.
Do you have any artistic influences?
Art has always played a large part of my life. I frequently
visit the Chicago Art Institute for inspiration. My influences
come from several mediums. Alfred Stieglitz, Jacob Matham
and John William Waterhouse were early influences; they expressed
unique styles that were very personal to me and how I pursue
my own work.
You can see more of his work at www.TedPreuss.com