Monday, October 10, 2016

Searching for Kio Stark

For the past six weeks, I have been trying to connect with the researcher and author, Kio Stark. I first became aware of Kio’s work in a TED video entitled, Why You Should Talk to Strangers. In it, she describes the beneficial effects for us when we go out of our way to talk with strangers; making connections that enhance our day as well as our lives. Shortly after watching the video, I read her newly published book, When Strangers Meet, which further details the concept of engaging with strangers.

The reason I’ve been wanting to meet up with Kio Stark has much to do with the essential work I accomplish when I make formal street portraits of people I meet.

In listening to her on the video, and reading her book, I came to the realization that her research validates the unconscious motivation that drives my desire to photograph people. It has to do with the concept of street intimacy.    

Here is how she describes the phenomena:

Talking to a stranger is, at its best, an exquisite interruption of what you were expecting to happen…you are…connected. Conversations with strangers fill an essential need….The name of the need is intimacy.

There is [a] kind of intimate relationship, one that holds us together for just a fleeting moment and then vanishes….This is street intimacy.

Now that I have a way of identifying the feeling that comes up for me, the need for connection when I see a stranger I wish to photograph, I want to develop a project that explores the reciprocal of this phenomena. That is to say, when a person agrees to allow me to make their portrait, does this fulfill their own need to make a connection? Is this what motivates people to trust me enough to render themselves a little bit vulnerable and permit me to make their portrait? Does street intimacy actually work both ways, or is their motivation driven by something else?

It’s a question I’d like to pose to Kio Stark…if only I could reach her. Her web site has no “contact me” platform, and a Google search produces a small bit of information but no email address. So I’m left to composing this blog post, inserting it in a tweet to her, and seeing if I can connect.

Kio, here’s my web site:  Here’s my email address:

Would really like to explore my project idea with you.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Lesbian Portraits to be Shown in Florida

If you scroll down to my blog posts from the summer of 2015 you'll see that I was working on a series of lesbian portraits. Well, these images are about to enjoy their first exhibition as I Am Here: The Lesbian Portraits are set to be shown at the National Stonewall Museum, right outside of Fort Lauderdale in Wilton Manor. The public opening is set for Friday, and here's the formal announcement:

I Am Here: The Lesbian Portraits
Photographs by Robert Kalman
Stonewall National Museum - Mona Pittenger Gallery
2157 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL

Public Opening – Friday, September 23, 2016. Runs through November 6, 2016
Hours: Tue- Sun 4 pm - 10 pm (Closed Mondays)

Since the untimely death of his lesbian sister, photographer Robert Kalman has sought a way to create a tribute to her memory and her personal struggle. In this series of photographs, Kalman made formal street portraits of lesbian community members using a large, 8x10 view camera while asking them the question, “What’s life like for you right now?” Their handwritten responses which are paired with their portraits create a remarkable look at life today in our community. As one young woman wrote, “To be genuinely authentic and carry no shame is a beautiful thing.” 

Read more about the work here -

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Giving My Gift Away

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift.  The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

This quote, which is sometimes misattributed to Picasso, is actually an idea put forth by a psychiatrist, the late David Viscott.

It sums up perfectly the intention of my latest photo project: Starting on Wednesday, January 6th 2016 I will be posting one portrait  each day on my dedicated Facebook page, Robert Kalman, Photographer.

If you are the first person, anywhere in the world, to offer a comment about the portrait, I will send it to you in the mail, for free. That is, I’m giving my gift away.

I’ve made a short, three-minute video describing what all this is about. 

Please check it out, and stop by my page to check out the day’s portrait. 

The project is scheduled to run for 100 days.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Current Danbury Show - Two Weeks Remain

My current show at the Gallery at Still River Editions of twenty-three portraits will continue until December 18th. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5:00pm. Here's the promotional announcement which ran in yesterday's NY Times.

Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Linda At Work

Next to every great camera stands a great assistant!

Many thanks to photographer Manuel Laqui for capturing Linda at work!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Today is My Day...

A piece of my work is featured in the Photo of the Day on the "Don't Take Pictures" web site. Here's a screenshot:

"Don't Take Pictures" is a wonderful venue for showcasing the work of "emerging photographers," and, inasmuch as I think of myself as the oldest emerging photographer in North America, I'm truly honored to have been included.

The web site can be accessed here.