Chicago Architectural & Fine Art Photographer
"I will try to speak of the beauty of shapes... straight lines and curves and the shapes made of them... They are not beautiful for any particular reason or purpose, as other things are, but are eternally, and by their very nature, beautiful, and give a pleasure of their own quite free from the itch of desire: and in this way colors can give a similar pleasure."
“One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are.”
Minor White, photographer
The two quotes above pretty much sum up my approach to photography: seeking what is behind the obvious, what else is there, transcending reality, emerging as an abstract relationship between shapes and forms, lines and curves, tones and colors. Seeking beauty and harmony in our often chaotic surroundings and lives.
Life seems to go in circles. I spent most of my professional life in corporate finance, yet my beginnings were in photography. And not just any photography, but architectural photography. My first paid publication was while I was still a student of economics - a magazine assignment on a Scandinavian design exhibition in my hometown’s museum of modern arts.
My only intersection of photography and finance happened when I was a finance manager for Eastman Kodak at some point in my career. Got my MBA from the arguably #1 business school in the world, the University of Chicago Booth, too. In the meantime, I traveled a lot. I lived, worked, or visited more than 30 countries, on three continents. Photography has always been my first and only true love. Seeking solitude and refuge from a hectic professional career, my travels resulted in a lot of landscape and cityscape photography.
Ah, the inevitable: yes, like you read in biographies of almost any other photographer, I also got my first camera at the age of 14, from my uncle who was a professional photographer in Sweden. My first serious camera was the beautiful and iconic Rollei 35. I soon then inherited my first Hasselblad from my uncle, when he was diagnosed with MS. I got my second (and current) Hasselblad while in Kodak (hey, couldn’t refuse employee discount - Kodak was a Hasselblad's distributor in countries where they didn’t have their own)
"You can't fake seeing. Photography doesn't begin and end with the general view of something; like a movie, there's the detail, the nuances of the parts that make the whole. It all comes back to a single, vital factor: eye. Remove that essential, and at very best you get a record. I believe that much of what we see is ultimately governed by how much we have actually seen. As with Slobodan, you cannot have lived in different countries, held your own under different systems of governance, yet come out the other side with the closed eye and inculcated mindset of the person who has never left the village. Travel doesn't create a dulling of the senses: it raises curiosity, and with the enquiring mind you get the new slant on the same old, same old."
Rob Campbell, photographer