Charles Rozier: House Music
Charles Rozier has a new book, House Music, from Dewi Lewis Publishing, that aptly describes a world filled with the music of children, dogs, relatives, friends, and family under one roof. I first featured the project in 2013 and was moved by his personal photographic legacy. The work now spans almost thirty years, beginning with black and white capture, eventually moving into color, where the spectrum becomes another character in his tableaux of every day life. There is an honest seeing in his work, moments that are at the same time poignant, humorous, and ordinary. He takes us through the corridors and rooms of his life with the stealth of a street photographer, showing us those memories that only the camera can retain. He states, Though not staged, these images differ from the purely documentary in that they generally remain ambiguous; I believe they are more likely to raise questions than give answers. In each one I am searching for an unexpected moment or undertone, captured within an ordinary but formally complete, evocative space.”
The book includes a terrific essay by Alison Nordström, an independent scholar, writer and curator. She writes: “Rozier establishes a universe that, despite its apparent familiarity, is set apart from the world as it is. This is, to some extent, a function of two distinctive palettes: the deeply contrasting tones of his black and white images, and the dark and muted spectrum of his way with color. It is usually difficult to combine color and black and white images in a publication or on a gallery wall, yet Rozier’s reliance on a substantially chronological structure makes the shift from monochrome to color feel both inevitable and significant in its own right, forcing us to recognize and accept change over time.”
Charles Rozier received an MFA in design from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he also pursued a longstanding interest in photography. Over the next 40 years, in parallel with a design career, he remained committed to his photography and in particular to his ongoing project – this continuous series of unposed portraits of the people around him.The images were first exhibited in 2008, and have since been shown in over 25 exhibitions in the USA, China and Spain. Charles Rozier lives in Connecticut, USA.
In my twenties, during the late 1970s, I began an open-ended series of unposed portraits of the people around me. Inevitably, over time these began to coalesce loosely into a narrative. A long excerpt, from about 1987 to 2014, has become the basis for this series.
These images ultimately build a story that spans a generation: I marry, start a family, lose parents, watch my children grow up, and see them leave home. As it happened, however, those twenty-six years provided me with a remarkable cast of characters whose striking combination of anxiety, ferocity, and charisma ultimately gave this work its life.
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