A.K.A. The Photographer’s Brother
In the mid 1990’s I was photographing a dead tree in Torrey Pines State Park in California. The sight of me pointing a contemporary wooden view camera at the landscape must have made quite an impression on a few of the park visitors. A couple stopped long enough to ask what I was doing and remarked, “You should take a picture of that camera!” It was a phrase that I now recall in light of the present series.
The Photographer’s Brother is inspired by all the images I have ever seen of photographers at work which include my own encounter with other photographers, the comical images of still photographers in cinema or the occasional photo of an artist in the field with camera pointed purposefully. The photographs presented here are an attempt to reconcile the performance of photographing with the framed image. All photographs in the series are diptychs pairing an image of the photographer at work along with the object or scene which has seduced him.
The series is intended to act as both self-portraiture and a fictional narrative. There are parts to him that I recognize as my own and other aspects that seem to be pulled out of a biography of California landscape photographers. The title is meant to suggest an imagined relationship. Someone close to the photographer, perhaps his brother, is photographing him while he works. One photographer works with subject matter ranging from still-life to landscape while the other chooses his brother to be the major content of his images.
-francis schanberger, 2008