Rob Schiller - Biography


Rob Schiller's career in photography began in earnest at the University of Iowa School of Art.  From 1972 through 1975, he studied the basics of creative photography under Professor John Schulze.  There, he quickly realized that the key to creating interesting photographs was directly linked to the subject matter in front of the camera.  There were plenty of interesting people at the University, but the landscape mostly consisted of farmland.  Rob began to travel out west, mostly to California and Colorado; there was no shortage of breath-taking scenes in those parts of the country.

Years later, Rob is still traveling with his Nikon F4 in hand.  Influenced by the works of William Eggelston, Lee Freidlander, and Diane Arbus, he seeks to capture the strange and exhilarating.  Says Schiller, “I look for symmetry, but I also look for things that are opposites, or politically incorrect in society.  I try to see what other people may miss, or choose to ignore.”  These observations take on tones of beauty and grime, happiness and sorrow, humanity and cruelty, often combining contrasting emotions within the same scene, alluding to life's dualities.  Composed in the realm of the unexpected, his photos portray the raw and often overlooked truth of a person or place.  By singling out the individual, his portraits manage to comment on society in its entirety, often putting an ironic twist on stereotypes.

In 2005, Rob spend three months in Luanda, Angola, a country devastated by twenty-five years of civil war, where eighty percent of the population is below age eighteen.  With one million land mines still buried across Angola, mangled adults lay in the streets of Luanda, and the stay presented the most real and challenging material Rob has photographed to date.

In sharp contrast are Robert Schiller’s photographs of San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago.  No matter the setting, Rob  aims to capture the colorful and contrasting spectrum of human life through his photography.

On a technical note, some of Rob's photographs may appear to be manipulated or computer altered.  However, each image is the product of an original, untouched 35mm negative.  Except for minor cropping, no computer-generated effects are employed in enhancing or altering images.  All work is composed in front of the camera, and all images are formed during the time between the opening and closing of the camera's shutter.

Schiller, now fifty-five, looks forward to working in 35mm photography for the foreseeable future.  However, he is anything but old school.  Rob is moving forward with his interactive project, and second book, AMERICA REVEALED.

Robert Schiller - Photographer

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