Art Gallery Reception
Edgemar Center For the Arts
Robert G. Zuckerman
In 1977, I was in New York and showed some of my photographs, which at the time were black and white urban landscapes, mostly from the Bay Area, to a midtown gallery curator. He said to me: “Your work is visually stunning but it lacks emotional content.” This was a key moment for me in that, whether I agreed with him or not in his assessment of my work, it helped me define my approach, intention and hoped for achievement of my photography. Sixteen years later, in Los Angeles, I met an artist from San Francisco – she was HIV Positive and Albino – who painted pictures of flowers that radiated intense feeling. In her artist’s statement she said: “The more personal my expression, the more universal its meaning.” This was another key, defining, profoundly influential moment in my path. These and other inspirational/instructional moments have helped shape my approach to portraiture and photography in general. Simply put, I see myself as a receiver more than as a director. While I instinctively strive to find and/or create a space/environment that is conducive and fertile, that visually draws viewers in while flattering the subject (in the way a farmer desires fertile soil in which to plant seeds), I then act as a receiver, a sponge, an absorber, open to the moments, nuances, gestures and spirit of the person being photographed. Rather than directing the gestures and movements of the person, I become open, and more fully allow myself to be directed by the movements, gestures and spirit of the being in front of the camera. In speaking with students about photography, I talk about respecting people, never photographing someone who doesn’t want to be photographed, and, rather than asking to “take” someone’s picture, to ask them: “Can we make a picture together?”, acknowledging the true collaboration between the person in front of and behind the camera. In this regard, photography and portraiture is about all involved, both in front of, behind and around the camera. The intention and care put in by the photographer will come through in the final image. While I have been fortunate in meeting and working with many well-known people over the years, I go into all sessions with respect and care, with wanting to give the subject (my collaborator), and other viewers, something of value that will help and give enjoyment for a long time. It is a great honor to have my work displayed here at Edgemar, an oasis of creativity and spirit.
~Robert G. Zuckerman
Robert Zuckerman is a leading photographer in the Hollywood Film and Entertainment industries. He has done advertising and or publicity photography for all three Transformers, both National Treasures, The Crow, Training Day and many more. Currently he serves as Dean’s Distinguished Fellow at FIU College of Architecture + The Arts. The portraits on these walls span over thirty five years. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 323.864.3100 and please visit www.robertzuckerman.com and www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-g-zuckerman.