Volume 1, Issue 2 Spring 2013

Contact Sheet

Photographs by Eric Breitenbach

Most photographs imply some kind of contact between photographer and subject. We recognize that both entities have actually occupied the same place at the same time and both are essential to the final image. When the subject is human, and aware of the photographer, this contact may be manifested in an exchange of glances and gazes that we are tempted to believe we can read and understand.

This selection of photographs by Eric Breitenbach demonstrates some fleeting connection between him and the people he has recorded and interpreted. Some are made in Florida, where he has lived for most of his adult life, while others were made in India, a complex culture in which he has spent very little time. Are the two bodies of work different? What does it mean to photograph a stranger wherever he or she is found? Does the act of photography automatically turn an individual into a type, impose a category, create the Other? Will later trajectories of these images turn them into anthropology, aide-memoire, souvenir, journalism or art?

We are the viewers of these photographs, the vicarious experiencers of whatever contact occurred as the picture was being made. As we gaze into the eyes that once saw a man with a camera confronting them, we can almost believe that the photographer’s eyes and our own are the same. Photographs look like truth and feel like memory. What kind of contact do they create and with whom?

View more of Eric Breitenbach's work.