Photographic Alphabet: H is for Robert Herman
By Leah Pfenning
Robert Herman experiments with the limitations of capturing images through his iPhone’s Hipstamatic app in his series and second monograph, The Phone Book. Herman has been a street photographer since his days as a film student at NYU in the late 70s. Shooting on the Hipstamatic app originally drew in Herman, as it was reminiscent of his earlier experiences working with an analogue Kodachrome camera. The choice of using the app was compelling to Herman as he says, “the square format, the fixed lens and the slow ISO… Unlike a DSLR that has a five shot burst, it forced me to slow down.”
The Phone Book series was shot between 2010 and 2014 covering Herman’s extensive travels both nationally and internationally. Herman seeks to document what existed in time and space for a singular chance moment. Serendipity is the photographer’s strongest ally and met with Herman’s sense of subtle expression and ironic juxtaposition, it is the perfect marriage for the craft of street photography.
Herman is a believer that “it is the photographer’s eye that creates images that resonate.” Using an iPhone to capture images allows the photographer a sense of invisibility, while providing the opportunity for Herman to take photos more liberally and with a greater sense of authenticity. The Phone Book gives us a thought-provoking glimpse into quotidian life from around the world as it resonates from the uninhibited eye of Robert Herman.