Saul Robbins is interested in the ways people interact within their surroundings and the psychological dynamics of intimacy. His photographs are motivated by observations of human behaviour and personal experience, especially those related to loss, unity, failure, and the latent potential residing in traditional photographic materials and personal history. Robbins is best known for “Initial Intake”, which examines the empty chairs of Manhattan-based psychotherapy professionals from their clients’ perspective; “How Can I Help? – An Artful Dialogue”, a pop-up office into which he invites strangers to speak with him about anything they wish for free and in complete confidence. Robbins is also the father of a young boy and since 2012 has created several series of abstract “photographic drawings” and sculptures made from physically altered chromogenic paper and chemistry in response to his desire and struggles to start a family, including: “Where’s My Happy Ending?;” “Chemical Peels;” “Fertile Gestures;” and a new series of traditional photographs.
Exhibitions include The Bolinas Museum, Blue Sky Gallery, Busters, Deutsche Haus at NYU, chashama (Windows Installation), Griffin Museum, Humble Arts, ICP, KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO, Lilac Arts, MASQUELIBROS Artist Book Fair, Lilac Arts, Massachusetts General Hospital, MICA, Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, New Orleans Photo Alliance, Ost Gallery, Moscow, Pelican Bomb, Portland Art Museum, The Educational Alliance, Philoctetes Center, Skirball Center, Mark Woolley Gallery, White Gallery (PSU), and others. His photographs have been published in Aufbau, Berlin Tagesspiegel, CPW Quarterly, D - La Repubblica, Dummy, More, The New York Times, Real Simple, TAM, and Wired, among others.
Grants and awards include The Covenant Foundation Ignition Grant, Sony World Photography Awards (Finalist), U.S. Embassy, Tblisi, GE, AJPA Rockower, Gunk Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Curatorial projects include Intervening Histories, OFF_Festival, Bratislava (2015), Projecting Freedom: Cinematic Interpretations of the Haggadah (2010), Regarding Intimacy (2007), and No Live Girls, Peep Show 28 (2002). Robbins was awarded a NICA Stipendium from Berlin's Hoch Schule der Kunste in 1998, and received his MFA from Hunter College (CUNY) in 1999, where he studied with Roy DeCarava, Mark Feldstein, Juan Sanchez, and Thomas Weaver. He teaches photography in New York City and has been leading Master Workshops internationally, helping photographers and artists to incorporate communication and professional development strategies into their creative practice.
Interview with Saul Robbins recorded by Michael Dooney on 14. May 2021 between Berlin and New York via Squadcast.
Portrait photo by Matthew J. Bernuca
Full episode transcript (online soon)