After practising both medicine and photography for some 34 years, Paul Schatzberger eventually left the NHS in 2007 to focus on making art.
Inspired by John Berger’s book 'A Fortunate Man', the story of a dedicated country doctor illustrated by the evocative photography of Jean Mohr, Paul's first serious photographs were of similarly committed general practitioner colleagues working in inner-city Sheffield during the 1980s.
Paul went on to photograph aspects of the exemplary health service in Cuba, and of life there. Initially combining these pictures with text for educational purposes. Finding that these images spoke for themselves, in the 90s Paul began to exhibit them in their own right.
The loss of his young niece to a brain tumour around this time caused Paul to reflect on his medical and photographic practices; more specifically the nature of their relationship and interdependency. For a while death and dying, an experience of which as a doctor Paul had privileged access to, became the predominate theme of his artistic pursuits.
More recently he has begun exploring and presenting observations of personal and external space, offering his found perception of the world: atmospheric images that whilst talking of absence – buildings are vacated, rooms empty – often offer signs of human presence and activity.
Paul says, 'I do not always know what precisely captures my gaze at the time or why. It is something to do with recognising a situation and its meaning, and seeing that it would speak as a photograph. My understanding of the images I make and the connections between them is work in progress'.
While his earlier work mainly sought to document facts, Paul's newest images are far more likely to pose questions than provide answers; representing a direct response to emotions and feelings. They usually contain more beneath the surface than immediately meets the eye.
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