DEAR photography

Walter Schels

Walter Schels



Walter Schels was born in Landshut in 1936. He worked as a window decorator in Barcelona, Canada und Geneva. 1966 he went to New York to become a photographer.

1970 he returned to Germany and worked in advertising and for various magazines. Walter Schels became well-known for his portraits of artists, politicians, philosophers, celebrities - and animals as well.

He had a milestone experience back in 1975, when he was asked to document a birth for "Eltern" (Parents) magazine.

"That's when I saw the face of a newborn child for the first time. But it wasn't a faceless being; it had an aged, knowing face with a past."

Since that time, Schels had focused on faces and on observing the human existence in extreme conditions.

Awards / Grants

Walter Schels has received many awards, including international accolades such as the "Zeitenspiegel" agency's "Hansel-Mieth-Prize" for his series which shows hospice patients short time before and after their decease. For this photo series the "Art Directors Club of Germany (ADC)" honoured Schels with its Gold Award. In the "World Press Photo 2003" competition, he won a second prize in the category "Contemporary Issues", and he received the silvery "Lead Award" for the "Portrait Photograph of the Year" from the "Akademie für neue Bildsprache" in 2004.

Walter Schels is member of "Freie Akademie der Künste" in Hamburg, honorary member of the Association of Freelance Photo Designers (BFF) and Hasselblad Master 2005. He has published many books and held numerous exhibitions.


Noch mal leben vor dem Tod. Wenn Menschen sterben, DVA, Munich, Germany, 2004

Die Seele der Tiere. Gesichter, Gefühle, Geschichten, Orbis Verlag, Germany, 2008

Animal Portraits' Edition Stemmle, Zurich / New York, German and English, 2001

Das offene Geheimnis, Mosaik-Verlag, Munich, Germany, 1995 (out of stock)

Musikerporträts, Mosaik-Verlag, Munich, Germany, 1997 (out of stock)

Walter Schels: Joseph Beuys - Andy Warhol. Nike special European photograph
Sept/Oct 1994. Jürgen Kolbe im Gespräch mit Walter Schels. Mit einem Essay von Franz Joseph van der Grinten. (out of stock)
Von Menschen, Tieren und Händen, Schwanenburg, Kleve, Germany, 1993

Reise zum Regenbogen. Circus Roncalli, Mahnert-Lueg-Verlag, Munich, Germany, 1981

Im Traum hab ich mich schwarz gesehn, Tauros-Verlag, Munich, Germany, 1978