I am compelled to photograph animals in various contexts. The constant in my photographs is the blurred line between human and animal: where animals are part of our human world. It is important for me to portray animals as thinking individuals with distinct personalities, equal to humans.
At times, my photographs are considered art and at other times documents, whichever genre is applied, the commonality is a fantastical, dream-like element of the very real, live animals in context – I never Photoshop in the animals.
Photography and animals are my passport to each other. I see animals as my spiritual connection, my religion, my vice, my addiction. Animals calm me and comfort me — they save me.
Robin Schwartz’s photographs are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Art; The Brooklyn Museum; Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris, France; National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, England; and The Museum Folkwang, Germany, among others.
Schwartz’s fourth monograph is Amelia and the Animals published by Aperture, sited by Time LIGHTBOX as one of the Best Fall Books of 2014. Schwartz’s earlier books are Amelia’s World, 2008 Aperture; LIKE US: Primate Portraits, 1993 W.W. Norton & Co.; and Dog Watching, 1995, Takarajima Books. Schwartz’s photographs have been published in the New York Times Magazine, Time Lightbox, The New Yorker, Oprah, Stern, Telegraph, The Guardian and two editions of Photography Speaks: 150 Photographers on their Art, Aperture, and The Chrysler Museum, 1995 and 2004. Schwartz created and edited a National Geographic Magazine’s Your Shot assignment: “The Animals We Love,” and based on this assignment wrote a chapter in the National Geographic book, Getting Your Shot.
Schwartz has presented Master Talks at the National Geographic Magazine Seminar, LOOK3, The Eddie Adams Workshop, the Aperture Foundation and The Chrysler Museum of Art. She was a finalist in the Hyeres Festival de Photographie, France; a two-time recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant; and a Ford Foundation Individual Artist Grant as a graduate student at Pratt Institute.
Schwartz is an Associate Professor in Photography at William Paterson University of New Jersey and on the faculty at The International Center for Photography, New York.