September 2008  

A Timeless Moment Ted Preuss

Ted Preuss has exhibited his work all over the world including such prestigious shows as PHOTO New York, PHOTO San Francisco, and the International Photographic Art Exhibit. Unique among his modern contemporaries for sticking with classic photographic processes, Ted Preuss looks forward to exhibiting his work in new venues in the years ahead.

Art 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.

It 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 of photography?

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 own art.

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 medium.

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

All Photographs Copyright 2020 © by Ted Preuss, All Rights Reserved