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Rocky Schenck Photographs (2003)

FALL 2003

Like lost stills from a personal landscape, the photographs of Rocky Schenck hint at stories set in a surreal, shadowy territory backlit with moments of pure beauty. Viewers will find Schenck’s images endlessly evocative, though he himself asserts:

My approach is rather simple: I record on film what I see and what I feel as I travel through life. Although my photographs have been taken all over the world, there is a consistency to the imagery due to the manipulation of both the film’s negative and of the print’s surface. I consider my images to be illustrations of my conscious (and perhaps subconscious) dreams, emotions, and longings. Many of the images explore positive and negative realities that inhabit dreamlike settings . . . they are usually not premeditated or contrived. . . . I simply take my camera with me wherever I go and try to remain open to whatever life shoves . . . or gently places . . . in front of me.

When I’m shooting, I look for images that tell a story, or provide some element of a dramatic narrative. Of course, sometimes it’s a matter of being swept away by the haunting beauty of nature, which provides constant inspiration and solace. And I guess I’m a little bit of a dreamer, so I like to create fantasy worlds in some of my photos. . . . Places where I would like to escape and get lost in my imagination. I’ve got a healthy respect for fantasy, but at the same time reality isn’t such a bad thing, either.

Born in Austin and raised in Dripping Springs, native Texan Rocky Schenck now lives in Los Angeles where he is also a filmmaker. Texas State’s Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection has been acquiring Schenck photographs since 1999 and now holds the major collection of his work, over 130 prints.

Published as the 7th volume in the Southwestern & Mexican Photography book series, Rocky Schenck: Photographs, is the first monograph on Schenck’s photography. It includes 84 plates, an introduction by Collections Curator Connie Todd, and a foreword by John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—and an enthusiastic Schenck collector. Series editor, Bill Wittliff / Volume editor, Connie Todd. The book can purchased through the Wittliff Gift Shop.