Joe Schmelzer might have taken an entirely different career path had it not been for Mohammad Ali. While the bedrooms of his junior-high classmates were plastered with posters of Big Hair Bands and even bigger-haired babes, commanding the space above Joe's twin beds hung a framed black-and-white portrait of the history-making heavyweight - a limited edition signed by photographer Yousuf Karsh. Although a "solid investment", the photo was placed there by Joe’s father simply because it clashed with the downstairs decor. The photo would impact Joe’s life more than he could have imagined. Under the shadow of The Greatest, Joe says, "something just clicked" - literally. Nearly two decades later, Joe is an accomplished editorial and commercial photographer specializing in hospitality, food, and interiors, as well as environmental and celebrity portraits. Recognized for the natural-light quality of his images and a knack for putting his subjects at ease, Joe is a familiar presence in the travel, shelter and entertainment markets. His work has appeared in every major interiors-centric magazine, website and blog, and is regularly featured in the editorial pages of Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Vogue UK, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
The intersection where Joe's traditional photography meets innovative technology is reflected throughout all of his projects, professional and personal, highlighting Joe’s desire to capture the extraordinary in seemingly mundane moments.
Joe’s ability to help clients achieve their creative aspirations has also made him a sought-after commercial photographer collaborating with high-profile brands including Sub-Zero/Wolf Appliances, Bed, Bath & Beyond, World Market, One Kings Lane, Joybird, Dorchester Hotel Collection, Amazon Home, O’ahu Visitors Bureau and Pottery Barn to name a few.
A meticuluous Virgo, Joe has the uncanny capacity to be productive at any hour. By the time everyone arrives for an 8 a.m. shoot, Joe has already finished three coffees, washed his car, bought jeans on eBay and marinated a brisket. Originally from suburban Cleveland (yes, Shaker Heights), he holds a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Joe, his boyfriend Nick, and their canine sidekicks, Storm and River, now make their home-office in Eagle Rock, a ridiculously popular section of Los Angeles.