I featured the work of Charles Rozier
some time ago on Lenscratch, so I was delighted when he sat down at my table at Photolucida. Charles has been documenting his family for a long time and had several monographs to share with me of the work. As I slowly turned the pages, I was profoundly moved (and admit I teared up) by his photographic legacy of those he loves and lives with. It was as if I was on the journey with him through part of his life.
Thought I’d let Charles do the talking from here on out:
I was born in 1951. Like many others I took an interest in photography, or more accurately cameras, at an early age. Then, in college, I discovered the work of Cartier-Bresson and Arbus. This had a profound effect on me, a life-changing experience that forced me to completely rethink what I was trying to accomplish in taking pictures. Eventually it led me to start on what 35 years later would become the current project.
I photographed for many years in a consistent manner while having little contact with the photographic world, taking pictures of the lives around me as the opportunities arose. Having a camera with me has always given me something to do with my hands and made me feel more at ease.
Again like many others I found work and started a family. Inevitably the pictures centered themselves on my immediate family and my in-laws, who lived not far away.
Over the years I accumulated contact sheets and files containing many thousands of images. Finally in 2001 I set aside a block of time and began compiling and printing them, and in 2008 I began showing them. I am now working a book that will encompass the most recent 25 years in a roughly narrative sequence.
These photographs are from a much larger 35-year series of unposed portraits of the people around me, mostly of my family. This project has driven most of my photography and remains a work in progress. I am in the process of assembling a selection of the images into a book, titled “House Music”, that will encompass a 25-year period in a narrative direction like a memoir without text.
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.