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About

About seeing images, seeing things: When we see an image we see a representation, a metaphor, not the thing itself. It is transformed, taken out of its original context and inserted into another. It is a misdirection, in a sense, and is a shift away from the real, an imagined possibility where we, the viewer brings meaning and fills in any gaps.

Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe, but, as Magritte reminds us, representations of pipes are not. Perhaps when we look at images, we are only just “seeing things.”

About me, Ken Schles. Sometimes I photograph. Sometimes I talk and write about that experience and the issues it rises for me. My books are considered “intellectual milestones in photography.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). Adam Bell called Oculus, “an unusual and uniquely important book,” when he chose it for Photo-Eye’s best of year list. A New History of Photography: The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads, was a finalist for the 2009 Rencontres d’Arles Photographie Contemporary Book Award. Vince Aletti in the New Yorker called Invisible City, “hellishly brilliant.” Invisible City was also included in MoMA’s More Than One Photography exhibition and cited in Parr/Badger’s the Photobook: A History Volume III, M+M Auer’s survey of photographic books and 10×10 American Photobooks. Invisible City was a Sunday New York Times Book Review notable of the year. It’s influenced a generation of photographers and is a favorite of the photographer Robert Frank. Ken Schles’ work is included in private and public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Rijksmuseum and others. 
I’m also a NYFA Fellow.

See images, reviews, texts and learn more about his books here.

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