Rocky Schenck Photographs

Rocky Schenck Photographs

by Rocky Schenck
     
 

"Each photograph is like a still taken from a movie that exists not on film but rather in one's memory, with all the fuzziness typical of remembered impressions. The viewer, willing or not, fills in the frames that precede and follow it.... When confronted by such compelling and seductive images, the viewer can hardly help but respond reflexively,

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Overview

"Each photograph is like a still taken from a movie that exists not on film but rather in one's memory, with all the fuzziness typical of remembered impressions. The viewer, willing or not, fills in the frames that precede and follow it.... When confronted by such compelling and seductive images, the viewer can hardly help but respond reflexively, amplifying, expanding, and otherwise making the photograph his own. This compulsion to respond, together with the lovely elegiac mood in all his work, is the real power of Schenck's photographs."

—John Berendt, from the Foreword

Remembered movies... images from a dream... scenes from another world—the photographs of Rocky Schenck are endlessly evocative, though the photographer asserts that "my approach is rather simple: I record on film what I see and what I feel as I travel through life." Still, these haunting images are no mere reproductions of everyday reality. By manipulating both the film's negative and the print's surface, Schenck creates images that are "illustrations of my conscious (and perhaps subconscious) dreams, emotions, and longings.... When I shoot these images, they are usually not premeditated or contrived.... I simply take my camera with me where I go and try to remain open to whatever life shoves... or gently places... in front of me."

This volume is the first book-length publication of Rocky Schenck's photography. The images range from human spaces—hotel rooms, store windows, lobbies, living rooms, even information booths—to natural places—oceans, lakes, forests, fields, and roadways—he encountered on trips through North America, Europe, andMexico. For all their variety, however, Schenck's images form a coherent whole. Like lost scenes from a silent movie, they suggest bits of a story set in a vaguely threatening landscape in which loneliness and alienation are offset by moments of pure beauty. Refusing easy resolutions, Rocky Schenck never quite closes the story, leaving viewers to navigate their own way back to the daylight world.

Accompanying the images is an appreciative foreword by John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and a collector of Schenck's work. Connie Todd's introduction links Schenck's work with the nineteenth-century pictorial tradition and twentieth-century modernism and also provides a brief biography of the photographer.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fifteen years of Los Angeles-based Schenck's work is collected in this attractive book, the first devoted to his unusual chiaroscuro photography. In an appreciative introductory essay, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil author John Berendt aptly characterizes these images as "painterly photography." Within diverse subject matter-including landscapes and quasitheatrical interiors-Schenck secures a mood of soft-focus inscrutability and allows the viewer plenty of leeway for interpretation (much as in the works of such celebrated easel painters as Edward Hopper or Thomas Eakins). Human figures are either absent or dwarfed within gauzy, grisaille environments. Often it is the oblique references in Schenck's titles, such as Biggest Cypress in Texas and Edvard Munch's Yard, Norway, that provide the necessary elucidation. Others are best seen as freestanding art pieces. Enigmatic, sparsely peopled compositions of anonymous retail settings or silhouetted shrubbery are laid bare for interpretation. Palpably laden with atmosphere, they also are reminiscent of the lithograph-like quality of certain achromatic children's book illustrators, such as Chris Van Allsburg or Allen Say. This compelling collection of 84 photographs deserves consideration by libraries with large photography collections.-Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780292702172
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
11/28/2003
Series:
Wittliff Gallery Series
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 12.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Rocky Schenck is a professional photographer based in Hollywood. His photographs, which have been shown in galleries around the world, have attracted both public and private collectors. He is also a filmmaker.

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