My photographs are drawn from real journeys undertaken with my daughter, Amelia. I am driven to depict relationships with animals but the photographs are not documents; they are evidence of the invented worlds that we explore and the fables we enact together. Photography gives us the opportunity to access our dreams, to discover the extraordinary.
Animals and interspecies relationships have always been an important part of my work. The animals in my photographs are not represented as beasts or nobility but as part of our everyday world. My first monograph, a series of primates at home with humans, guided me to the places of my own childhood fantasies.
I photograph myself with animals through Amelia. I am an only child who has an only child. Each of us has a strong fantasy world. Amelia and I play out our eccentricities in worlds where she and animals not only co-exist, but also interact. Animals are not props in my photographs and they are not photo-shopped in. The world that my daughter and I explore is one where the line between human and animal overlaps or is blurred.
An artist photographing her child can invite ridicule, but getting personal with my projects has always been both my need and my edge. This project evolves with my daughter’s maturing personality and aptitude. Amelia is my priority, my muse, my co-conspirator, my tormentor and my bliss. Collaborating with Amelia, I am able to go to any place in time.
Robin Schwartz’s photographs are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, The National Museum of Art, Washington, D.C., The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Chrysler Museum of Art, The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and The Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany. In addition they have appeared in The New York Times, FADER Magazine, Interview, People, Entertainment Weekly, and The Photo District News. She has worked on assignment for Life and Sports Illustrated Magazines. Schwartz’s work has been included in the Aperture Foundation and The Chrysler Museum of Art publication; Photography Speaks: 150 Photographers on Their Art, 2004.
The Aperture Foundation has recently published Amelia’s World, edited by Tim Barber. Two earlier monographs of Schwartz’s photographs are: LIKE US: Primate Portraits, 1993 and Dog Watching, 1995. Robin Schwartz is a Professor in Photography at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Her solo exhibition of Amelia’s World will be held at the Point of View Gallery, NYC late February, 2009. robinschwartz.net