John Schott studied photography at the University of Michigan with Phil Davis and pursued graduate studies in the Department of the History of Art. During this period he photographed with and befriended then-emerging photographers Nicholas Nixon and Lynne Cohen.
Schott was a junior Fellow in the University of Michigan Society of Fellows from 1972 to 1975. In 1975 he received an Individual Artist’s Fellowship in Photography from the National Endowment for the Arts. That same year he was included in William Jenkins’ seminal exhibition at the George Eastman House, New Topographics. In 2009 a reexamination of this exhibition organized Britt Salvesen toured internationally to numerous museum venues including: the Center for Creative Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Jeu de Paume, Paris and Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Bilbao.