Koltz uses the imagination in his photography

By Donna Schuld

FROM FATHER – Local photographer Shanna Koltz has captured her fair share of weddings, high school portraits and commercial projects, such as the Ashwaubenon Community Urban Planning Calendar.

But said she also uses her studio for creative storytelling.

With tones ranging from playful to macabre, Koltz’s work can be found in galleries and museums across the region, and even outside in Nicolet Alley in the west of town.

Koltz owns Koltz Photography and Studio Rouge (a photography store) in the 400 block of Main Ave.

“I want it to be a creative space, but also a place to show creative work,” Koltz said.

Not the type to take shortcuts, she says she delves into all the elements that go into her photography.

“Technically, I’m a photographer, however, I do more than just take a photo,” she said. “I do all my textures. I style the people in the photos, sometimes I paint on them, or I use a body painter if that’s more than me. I like the process. For me the process of creating this art is like a puzzle for me to put all the pieces together. It’s about getting all of these parts, getting a feel for it, and crafting all of these parts. It’s really fun for me. I appreciate.”

Koltz said she photographed client sessions, fashion and events for a living – and artistic concept images and landscapes for her soul.

Photography, she says, has been a passion for her since her childhood.

“As far back as I can remember, I had a camera in my hand,” Koltz said. “When I was little, I spent a lot of time in the hospital, and that’s what I did. I drew, painted, I would do whatever I could.

For the most part self-taught, Koltz said she quit her mortgage sales job to return to photography after the birth of her son.

She said the support of her family contributed to her success.

“They’re my biggest fans – they’re a little embarrassing,” Koltz said. “They can’t go to the grocery store without telling people about my stuff, which is cute.”

Creating elaborate, emotional scenes, she said, doesn’t happen quickly, but it looks great on her.

“I start with small pieces,” Koltz said. “So I start off by putting together everything I’ll need for the look and the ensemble. I break it down into the look of the model, then I choose the model, then the makeup and the hair, and I choose the people to do it, and then I collect. I have bags in the basement of stuff I collect for shoots that haven’t happened yet, it might not arrive for a while. They only happen when I have all the pieces together.

Regarding the community, Koltz said interest in the arts is growing.

“I love it,” Koltz said. “I love that De Pere does these art walks, because it brings people together and shows them the work. I love that our region is starting to understand the value of art… Communities see that it can really enhance your space and attract people from other regions. When I go somewhere, I like to discover their local art scene, and I like that we have one now. And I’m excited about the arrival of the Mulva Center.

Koltz admits that not everyone likes, or even understands, his photograph.

“I really do it more of an escape on my own, and if people like it, great,” she said. “People who relate to it, sometimes it affects them more than I would have thought. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m doing it just for myself, and I’m really honored when people like it. I don’t always expect them to like it. Sometimes people think I’m scary, if there is a job that’s scary, but I’m not scary at all. I love emotions, and they are everywhere.

More information about Koltz photography can be found online at shannakoltz.com.

To learn more about Studio Rouge, visit koltzatstudiorouge.com.

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