Robert Fischer’s Photography

Opening March 6th, 6-9:30pm

On view through March 30th

View Exhibit


The Emerald Tablet is delighted to host this comprehensive showing of Robert Fischer’s photography. From the first viewing of his photographs, we were struck by his ability to gain access to the deepest interiors of his subjects, to reveal them ‘in situ’, as curiosities and complex creatures, noble inhabitants of their own worlds, as unashamed beings expressing themselves eloquently with gestures and signifiers often utterly alien to us.

His work has often been compared to Robert Frank in the 1950’s or the 1960’s Diane Arbus, whose vision penetrated to reveal the absurd and surreal inside what we commonly view as normal. By seeing past the facade, Arbus gave us an unmistakable glimpse of the bizarre quietly existing inside the everyday.

Robert Fischer’s photographs have the richness of texture and elegance of composition seen in Avedon’s work; the images have the fleeting, unforgettable qualities of Brassai or Bresson. Truly there is a magic in each moment that can only be captured by an artist whose instincts are preternaturally tuned to that frequency. Robert Fischer is one such photographer.


I began painting at 22 and discovered that I was drawn to what can be described as “strangeness” in my subjects. Human uniqueness and the creativity and diversity of its expression especially intrigue me. My interest comes from a sense of compassion rather than exploitation. I desire to reveal this in an up close and personal way.

I am drawn to photography because my concerns and perspectives can be more fully realized through the lens. Interpretation is always present for me as an artist, but through photography individuals are viewed more completely as they appear. Whatever factors initially may attract me to them—gender ambiguity, anorexia, bi-polarity, addictions, body shapes, clothes or body accessories, fetishes, or simply clashing contrasts—the camera allows me to capture those aspects. My particular choices regarding perspective, context, location, and basic aesthetic elements then clarifies and showcases the unusual.

I crawl between the psychological legs of my subjects. They trust me. This provides them the freedom to give up to me who they are, their real selves.

What people have said
Robert Fischer’s humanistic but unsentimental photographs force us to be both more turthful and more tolerant, as Frank’s ‘the Americans’ did in the 1950’s. It’s an idea that seems to be finally achieving some widespread acceptance, particularly among the young, who seem less troubled by the diversity of the human animal. Fischer notes: “I am sixty, and I can still relate to people who are twenty; they look at my work and say “Awesome! You are really radical!”.

—DeWitt Cheng,
San Francisco, CA

Robert Fischer’s world is on no map to be found. When I first saw these images, I remember thinking I had never seen anything like them before. They provoked strong feelings of attraction and repulsion at the same time, like when you enter a completely unknown culture with rules and habits you don’t understand and even fear.

Underneath his vision is a dark and threatening incomprehensible power, the power of someone who has seen it all, who has peered behind the facades of Happyland and who tries honestly and uncompromisingly to define real values of his own. Bob builds on the ruins of an empty, void, crude world, without any illusions or aspirations except for the fundamental belief in human tenderness. Seemingly anarchistic, not hindered by any formal religion, by aesthetic rules or by bourgeois restrictions.

The quest Robert takes is courageous and not without danger. It implies questioning not only what’s normal or acceptable in society, but also his own position.  Without accepting any authority, subversive and dissident, he searches heaven and earth 0 he even descends into the Styx – to detect and depict the elements of his universe.

—Bart Ramaker,
Brussels, Belgium

Fisher’s elliptical narratives in which  the protagonist forever shifts between disarming candor and veiled, grotesque theatrics has a fascinating cumulative effect and leaves a most pungent residue. This oscillation between the mask and a seemingly more intimate identity lets you absorb the characters in Fischer’s universe in amorphous, lovingly adorned fragments, yet it is quite often the obscured face on the verge of dissolving that is most emotionally arresting.

—Amiel Courtin-Wilson,
Melbourne, Australia

See more images and find out more about Bob Fischer at his website.

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