baby and bird

Photography + Exploration in Cole

John Schoenwalter has lived in the Cole neighborhood for the past fifteen years and has been a photographer for over forty years. He can be reached via email at

Why did you choose Cole for your business in and to live in?

I moved here because the pottery studio at East 38th and Franklin, that was originally built to house a church, was being offered for sale. The building seemed perfect to use for my photography studio, with its high ceilings and soft diffused light. The unexpected bonuses were that I could also use the building as my residence, and it has a big yard, which is currently in use as a community garden.

What about Cole jives with your business culture?

The street where I live and work is quiet during the day. I can walk around with my camera, photograph a dove drinking from a puddle, a bumble bee browsing among my neighbors’ lamb’s ears, kids riding by on their bicycles, sunsets against a large sky (there’s a different light show every evening!). I can use the middle of East 38th as my open-air studio to pose my model in front of an expansive sky for an incredible back-drop, or take my model inside and use the studio light. If we ever have a block party for the residents here, it would consist of five human adults, one young boy, and five dogs.  It’s also a ten minute drive from the State Capitol. It’s truly my farm in the middle of the city – a surprising urban oasis!

Why are you passionate about your business? What’s the story?

My work is also my pleasure. I encounter a spectrum of personalities- celebrities, friends, strangers, humans, animals, insects and birds. Reflections in mirrors fascinate me, and require exploration; shadows reveal details that are not displayed by their three dimensional sources. What’s not to like here?

What inspired the look of your business/ the design?

I’ve become something of a super collector of “stuff”, and it’s time for a major overhaul. I’ll convert this clutter into a gallery space, to showcase my photographs and the works of other artists, while I continue to use the space for a photography studio. The place lends itself for this new form.



Want to know more about what is happening in Cole? Reach out to Paul with any of your questions!


  1. Cheryl

    John is an excellent photographer, a community-oriented neighbor, and an exceptional human being! It is wonderful to have him in our neighborhood!

  2. Hilary

    John is one of the most genuine, magical, and enlightening persons I have ever been lucky enough to spend time with.