ARTISTS STATEMENT

 

I wouldn’t say that photos take your soul, as some cultures believe, but every photo is going to be a trade-off between "appropriation" and the hope of capturing a transcendent moment. I’m always conscious that you make yourself vulnerable by being shot, and at some level the photographer is exploiting that. So I feel an obligation to the people around me, to the people in my pictures; I ask for trust, and I work to return something meaningful. Over the years I’ve begun to think of this work as a “privileged intimacy” – whether I’m at work, on the street, or someplace more private, the people and businesses who know me let down their guard and allow me to look inside.   

I find that shooting in natural light, hand-held, with often extremely slow shutter speeds, reveals the most powerful image—maybe because the abstraction that is a frozen time is extruded into a small volume, a truer moment. This also serves to slow me down and be present for longer with the subject. I hold my breath: it becomes an almost a yogic practice of mindfulness and union. 

A few things i believe:

I believe in the physical print and care little about the abundance of ephemeral digital images. For me, color is distracting and gratuitous and I only use it sparingly, or for other purposes. My monochromatic images aren't nostalgic, but purposefully constrained: they are haiku—tiny gestural poems. I am weary of conversations about cameras and technology, gadgets and pixels; i don't think these things matter much and the topics are dull. I believe that a photo should not need explanation to work, that it should live outside of the photographer's context and fully take on meaning from the viewer. I believe that the best images could not have been taken by another person or a moment before or a moment later, that they are a product of the unique moment in time and the absolute individuality of the human taking the picture. This is the bar. I believe that since everyone has a camera, and since photography has been commoditized, it is the photographic artist's job to deliver images consistently that go beyond the lucky snapshot and reveal as much about the artist as they do about the subject.

--Rubin, 2016