Stefanie Schneider (German, b.1968) is a renowned photographer known for her distinctive imagery of the American West, particularly 29 PALMS, CA. Schneider uses expired Polaroid instant film to create large-scale images that exhibit striking color changes as a result of the deterioration of the chemicals in the film. Schneider also chooses to mount her exhibits in sequential order in a panel, giving the impression of a deteriorated film reel. She attended Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany, where she earned a MFA in Communication Design.
Schneider then moved to the United States to pursue projects related to the western part of the country. The sun-drenched landscapes of this region appealed to Schneider, moving her to embark on her project titled 29 PALMS, CA. This feature film and art piece chronicles the lives of individuals at a trailer park in the California desert. Schneider combines her favored method of photography, expired Polaroid film, with 8 mm and 16 mm still images and voice narration to encapsulate the hopes and dreams of the residents. The characters depicted in the film are played by both actors and nonactors. The story is put together through the interpretation of real life communications (such as emails and phone calls) that take place as the individuals depicted in the story try to make sense of events that have occurred in real life. The story is considered both biography and social commentary, and the characters in the film are simply exaggerated alter egos of the individuals who play them. The piece premiered in Berlin in 2009 and has since been on display in the Czech Republic. Schneider has supplemented her work on the project by designing album covers for popular music artists, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cyndi Lauper.
The artist’s work has been shown throughout Germany, including at the Braunschweig Museum für Photographie, Berlin''''s Museum für Kommunikation, the Institut für Neue Medien in Frankfurt, the Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden, Kunstverein Bielefeld, Museum für Moderne Kunst Passau, and Foto-Triennale, Esslingen, and at Les Rencontres d'Arles in France. Schneider lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin.