About Schmoo

write: hello@schmoo.co

follow: @schmoogle

Schmoo Theune is a photographer and writer born in the USA. She began a career in medicine and biotechnology before discovering her purpose of documenting human stories through photography. Over the years she has committed her free time to becoming a community storyteller, partnering with local and national non-profit organisations and supporting their missions of cultural preservation and education. Since 2004, various galleries, websites, and publications such as The San Francisco Chronicle, Lightroom Magazine, Roads & Kingdoms, and AirBnB.com have featured her work. In January 2016 she dedicated herself to pursuing documentary photography full-time and now lives in Berlin, Germany.

About 'Spirit & Strength'

This visual story from 2016 comes from the remote villages in Bali, Indonesia, where village families succeed because of the nonstop, invisible, and silent support of the women: mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters. In the house or temple, women are always in motion weaving cloth and baskets and offerings, cooking, or selling their handmade goods at market. In the fields, they sweat as hard as the men under the stifling heat and – in some cases – under the crushing weight of giant slabs of stone. In the latter situation, it is the women who carry the stone hundreds of meters up the riverbed and up the cliffs to the road, whereas the men remain in camp cutting the stone. Indeed, the tenacity of Balinese women is remarkable; they will undertake any kind of work needed to support their families, even for just a dollar or two a day. In these images I hope to capture the perpetual motion of the sisterhood of Balinese women and the beauty of the labor they do. 

About 'Upstarts/Startups'

Internet penetration in the Republic of Georgia dramatically increased from 8% in 2007 (after the Rose Revolution) to over 40% in 2015, and still remains a hotbed of development thanks to popular and government support of rich technology programs. In this story, I explored how the entrepreneurial spirit manifests in challenging environments, such as in cultures defined by traditional practices and that resist change. 

About 'Grey Area' 

At 74, my father sustained a head injury that rendered him blind. This project aims to document the struggle of adapting to severe disability late in life, the issue of vulnerability, and to illuminate the path to accepting help in a deeply traditional Korean culture.

Selected Exhibitions & Publications

2005  Gothic Beauty Magazine #17: House of Vamp feature

2006  Capitol Arts Network juried exhibition, Washington DC, honorable mention

2007  Exhibition and benefit, Lo Fi Social, Baltimore

2013  Lightroom Magazine #6: Featured photographer

2015  Hoodline: "Getting to Know Haight Street Kids"

2016  The San Francisco Chronicle, History Days

2016  AirBnB Guidebooks: San Francisco

2016  Momenta Workshops - Instagram feature

2016  Borrowlenses feature: "Street Photography for the Shy"

2016  Chai Khana, "Upstarts & Startups: Visions of Georgia's Future"

2017  Resource Travel: "High Priestess in Bali"

2017  Roads & Kingdoms: "The High Priestess Will See You Now"