Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Orville Robertson


What inspired you to start taking photographs, and what is the primary inspiration for you to keep working in this field?


I believe that my love for taking long walks, especially after work and also my love for watching movies on television really got me interested in getting a cheap Instamatic camera and taking pictures of the interesting things I was seeing. I was so curious about fragments people coinciding with light and shadow and conversations but had nothing on which to record this theater. Now what keeps me going is to always remember my original inspiration and try to not endlessly repeat myself. My wife reminds me quite often if she thinks I’ve been showing her the same type of images. She’ll tell me to go shoot somewhere else, such as our mutual project to photograph state fairs. She has a wonderful eye and for years has been pointing out really good shots to me. Plus if she feels I have stood in the wrong spot she’ll point that out as well. What helps quite well to keep me loving street photography is that i shoot very discriminately. I rarely go beyond 20 rolls of 35mm film a year.


In your opinion and experience, how can emerging photographers evaluate themselves as ready to start promoting their works and seek broader exposure for their photographs? What is one vital action you would recommend photographers undertake to find their audience, be included in exhibitions, and gain professional representation?


Well if they’re doing street photography I advise them to go to a beach and photograph pretty models. There’s only personal success in street photography. If you still insist on doing this purely from love then you can seek out other street photographers either by attending an opening or use Google to figure out the players. We tend to be pretty sociable with other street shooters but talk about cameras way too much, which is fine by me. You will learn by seeing good work and bad work. If you’re honest and have some talent you might figure out which way to move forward. I strongly suggest avoiding the popular group shooting thing and mostly go shooting by yourself. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. When you feel you want to exhibit your work you can ask a friend who understands photography to help you edit and then make a submission to perhaps a university gallery that seems to like street photography. Do your homework.


How did it come about that you achieved the status of successful, professional photographer? What steps were involved in reaching your level of success?


If success is measured in fame or fortune then I am a resounding failure. I am fortunate enough to be represented by Domeischel Gallery in New York, but not that many people have ever heard of me or care about the work I’ve produced. But in my own mind I am a success because I love what I do and have no intentions of stopping until I can no longer carry a camera.

New York Corners, 01.05.2004 #21

New York Corners, 01.10.2007 #8

New York Corners, 01.11.2010 #15

New York Corners, 01.20.1988 #26

New York Corners, 01.1985 #34

New York Corners, 02.11.2004 #21

New York Corners, 02.23.2011 #19

New York Corners, 02.26.1986 #6

New York Corners, 04.14.2009 #14

New York Corners, 04.17.2007 #34

© copyright all images Orville Robertson

About this Blog

Two Way Lens is a project designed to inform and inspire emerging photographers wanting to focus their creative output in a way that enhances their chances of finding an audience, being included in exhibitions and ultimately achieving gallery representation. The journey from inspired artist to successful artist is one that is often difficult to negotiate and hard to control. On these pages, I will feature the experiences and opinions of other photographers who I have found inspiring, and hopefully the knowledge they have built in their own experiences will be valuable to all of us finding our own way to sharing our creativity with the wider world.