Email: Robert Kalman
Over his forty-year career making documentary portraits of strangers, Robert Kalman photographs people in such a way as to make others care about them and remember their stories. His portraits show us more than mere likeness; they reveal a quality of humanness that relates to who they are.
Kalman says, “When making a person’s portrait using large format we enter into a relationship of momentary intimacy. It’s unavoidable. The resulting image has to do with what passes between us.” He continues, “I think everyone has the urge to feel important, to be seen in an authentic, respectful, dignified way. That’s what my work is about. I take on documentary projects to reveal that authenticity within and across cultures that I want to learn about.”
Consequently, among his diverse projects are portraits of Nicaraguan villagers made twenty years apart; New Yorkers approached on the street; elders; straight and LGBT interracial couples; Europeans; police officers; lesbians; Kuna Indians; transgender Israelis; and a dozen more. His current projects, which have been on hold during the pandemic, include returning to Nicaragua to extend to over thirty years his series of villagers, portraits of African American women artists who reside in Brooklyn, and a collection of American portraits entitled, “What’s it like for you to be an American?”
Kalman’s work has appeared in countless publications, solo exhibitions and juried shows throughout the United States, and he is an active member of New York’s Soho Photo Gallery. He and his wife (and collaborator), Linda, live in the Hudson Valley.