Sunday Spotlight — May 12, 2019

Photographer: Saul Robbins

Project: Initial Intake

Artist Statement: Initial Intake examines the empty chairs and office surroundings of Manhattan-based psychotherapy professionals from the point of view of their clients. From this vantage point I wish to reference the perceptions, associations, and responses to this very private environment, and the work that takes place there.

For many, the role of a psychotherapist holds significant weight, and the importance attributed to him / her is one of profound influence in many of our lives. Viewers are encouraged to consider the inherent personality in each of these environments, and the place of power being held across from them on a regular basis. I am particularly interested in the existence and importance of a dyadic relationship between practitioner and client, one not always considered in more traditional modalities of treatment.

My immediate family is made up of psychotherapists and this work is rooted in the belief that long-term challenges can be resolved by examining patterns in personal and familial history. The series grew directly out of my response to one particular therapeutic relationship, and the necessity of questioning the efficacy and treatment of working with that practitioner. - Saul Robbins

Soho, 2008 (170826)

Columbus Circle, 2006 (1020629)

Union Square, 2008 (1070846)

Upper West Side, 2008 (2270867)

Midtown, 2008 (6100816)

Upper West Side, 2008 (6508111)

Flat Iron, 2007 (100507415)

Upper East Side, 2008 (17110817)

Upper East Side, 2004 (23904854)

Upper West Side, 2004 (24904953)

Upper West Side, 2004 (27804144)

Upper West Side, 2004 (81204141)

Union Square, 2005 (105051553)

Union Square, 2005 (267051052)

Upper East Side, 2004 (269041048)

Saul Robbins is interested in the ways people interact within their surroundings and the psychological dynamics of intimacy. His photographs are motivated by observations of human behavior and personal experience, especially those related to loss, unity, failure, and the latent potential residing in personal history and traditional photographic materials. Robbins is best known for “Initial Intake”, which examines the empty chairs of Manhattan-based psychotherapy professionals from their clients’ perspective; “How Can I Help? – An Artful Dialogue”, a pop-up office into which he invites strangers to speak with him about anything they wish for free and in complete confidence; “Where’s My Happy Ending?”, a series of drawings and sculptures made from physically altered photographs and photographic paper in response to his desire and struggles to start a family; and “Chemical Peels”, a series of abstract “photographic drawings” made with traditional chromogenic paper and chemistry.

Robbins’ work has been exhibited and published internationally and is represented by Kourosh Mahboubian Fine Art. He received his MFA from Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he studied under Roy DeCarava, and is currently Adjunct Professor of Photography at International Center of Photography, NYFA, and SVA. He also consults privately and leads Master Workshops internationally about communication and professional development. Find Saul on Instagram.

Sunday Spotlight is curated by Tara Wray and Zuzanna Szarek. The weekly series features work related to the mission of the Too Tired Project—to foster a community of wellness by sharing photography related to depression. To submit email us here with a link to your project.  

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