Robert Schulman Photographs



I've lived in Buffalo, NY for 39 years, loved the architecture, art, music, neighborhoods and neighbors. The communities, living spaces and environment are changing. It's easy to see what's evolved, for better and worse. I discover the components of my photos in vintage, industrial and modern architecture with close-up details contained therein. I have focused on old structures, capturing the lasting beauty of what may soon be gone. These images become compositions that resonate melancholy and up-beat moods with a jazz-like harmonious and dissonant essence. I often comment that "I've been doing this art work for 72 months and ..32 years." Since I got my first 35mm camera, I have felt the 'art' of photography. It's emergence came one day 6 years ago when I stood in my daughter's art class in a gallery space where a photography show was hung. I committed myself to an effort continuing with film only, which has become a creative, rich and rewarding endeavor. I hope you enjoy the work.


Artvoice - artSCENE "Dumpsters and Other Strangers II" at CEPA Gallery

Robert Schulman's superb photographs on exhibit at CEPA are largely of old industrial landscapes into intricate mosaics or geometrical collages of structural ruins and rust.

The repetition of forms and images within a single work is thematic - sometimes by way of echoes on echoes, sometimes as mirror images, as in one work featuring a blocky-looking, minimalist, sculpture-like construction in back-to-back images. The resultant work has something of the heroic abstractionist quality of a Robert Motherwell painting.

The old industry reference in this piece is not so apparent. The photos are not exclusively on this main subject matter. Another work features three different perspectives on three ranks (or perhaps the same rank) of suburban tract housing rooflines.

The signature industrial pieces feature a dense miscellany of multiple repetitions of ancient, rust-colored factory facades in intense dark hues and elaborate patterns reminiscent of an heirloom-quality carpet. Industrial efficiency and modernistic architectural form juxtapose with a romantic poetic sense based on the inherent nostalgic quality of ruins.

City Ghosts
By Laura Hollick
Pulse Niagara -

The narratives held in the walls of our architectural structures speak of history and human progress and, after living in Buffalo for 34 years photographer Robert Schulman has witnessed his city change. "It's easy to see what has evolved for better and worse," he says.

What started as a journey to document his city environment transitioned into a full-blown artistic expression. Using film rather than digital, Schulman wanders through Buffalo capturing the abstract stories that lay embedded within the structures and forms he finds. "I have focused on old structures, capturing the lasting beauty of what may soon be gone," the artist notes.

"I go around the hidden and unusual neighborhoods and industrial sites to see what's there and capture the special images," Schulman explains.
During his vintage city treks, Schulman unearths rusty old objects and peeling back painted doors. "Finding what is in a dumpster at a scrap metal processing plant is a thrill," he continues to say, "There is a beauty there in the terminal events of our scrap, especially the rusted machinery, tanks and discarded shapes of industrial waste."

Along with the found objects, Schulman seeks interesting architecture that marks the character of the city. Using a zoom lens, he captures close up angles and shapes. The end result of all of Schulman's photography is an abstract representation of a modern city dwellers experience.

Schulman fuses some of his images together, thus furthering the abstract quality to his shots. It isn't important that you recognize the location or the subject of each shot, but that a resonance is felt. Each image shows us a mirror of where we are today and the world that we came from.
There is a quality of preservation that seeps into his work. "It has and will be a struggle to continue the preservation," he says.
Schulman is interested in the recording the modern world that he lives in through the filter of his own creativity.

"Reaching into the human experience and finding relevant ways of expressing oneself by way of photography is a liberating experience," Schulman explains. There is so much that can be learned and observed about our modern culture when looking at your surroundings, especially in comparison to the way things used to be.

Each shot exhibited in Schulman's current exhibition at Quaker Bonnet is a vintage recorder of our history seen through the eyes of the present. Fully coded with abstract stories and meanings, these images are Schulman's innovative way of seeing the world. He gives us a window from which to view Buffalo from a whole new perspective. [Laura Hollick]




© 2011 Robert Schulman Photography
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