An emerging photographer with a background in translation and music, Robert Claus has been exploring drawing, composition, and theater since an early age. Born in Germany, he relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area after graduating from the University of London.
Attending a major retrospective of David Hockney in 2014 inspired him to return to his childhood love of photography. A self-taught artist, he has since studied under Gina Militia and took workshops and classes from Ed Kashi, Neal Menschel (both at Stanford), and Joel Grimes (remote).
He tends to draw on still life for his subjects but has also ventured into portraiture and landscapes. Now looking to gain wider exposure, he has produced several book-length curated projects that range from theater work to abstract still-life compositions.
This color photograph is a macro study of well-used baking sheets and forms part of a larger collection. It reveals patterns and textures that suggest artistic intent in their creation, but that actually resulted from years of use in the kitchen. Artistic agency here comes entirely from selecting certain “scenes,” and framing them in the viewfinder to create engaging compositions.
The macro lens gives us a glimpse into hidden realms that are as unlimited as the viewers’ imagination; to some, these non-figural marks might suggest a snowstorm; to others, jumbled-up glyphs, perhaps the marks of a palette knife on canvas. Although not representational or figurative in the least, these images bring the thing itself to life through the act of reinterpreting its surface artistically.
To me, this form of still-life photography is incredibly exciting because it opens up completely new and unexpected worlds with no more than a few common household items, a camera, and a Speedlight. This very simple and accessible technique allows me to present certain attributes of everyday objects from an unfamiliar perspective, and thus to make new sense of them. By sharing these images with a wider audience, I invite them to consider their own everyday objects as gateways to a beauty invisible to the naked eye.