I first met Robin Schwartz in the mid-1990s after she had just published her first book– a collection of black and white photographs of monkeys living in domesticated surroundings. As well as being unusual and good photographs, the underlying theme of the work addressed the question of what degree of separation there was between man and animal and by extension the whole question of animal rights. I kept a box of her prints at my gallery and showed them whenever I had the chance, but in general they were not what people were looking for. You can see some examples here in the Primate Portraits section.
Now just over a decade later, Robin has had her third book published (by Aperture), a series of edenic color photographs of her daughter Amelia interacting with a range of animals. If Robin is the animal photographer, Amelia is the animal whisperer – a child who clearly has an unusual gift and connection with other species. As Robin told me, “Amelia is fearless. When she first met a kangaroo, she stuck her hands down her pouch to feel the joey! Nothing spooks her.”
The multi-level collaboration, between photographer, daughter, and animals have inspired Schwartz to broaden her style from a journalistic genre to a more contemporary art aesthetic. The photographs play with art and photo-historical references and I can easily see these pictures gracing the walls of collectors and museums. It’s an extraordinary pleasure to see someone whose work has always been good move on so effectively.
After posting the above, Robin Schwartz sent me this picture taken just last week.