Photography is usually written about from the point of view of either the photographer or the viewer. Living with His Camera
offers a perspective rarely represented—that of the photographed subject. Dick Blau has been making art photographs of the people he lives with for more than thirty years; cultural theorist Jane Gallop has been living with him—and his camera—for twenty years.
Living with His Camera is Gallop’s nuanced meditation on photography and the place it has in her private life and in her family. A reflection on family, it attempts—like Blau’s photographs themselves—to portray the realities of family life beyond the pieties of conventional representations. Living with His Camera is about some of the most pressing issues of visuality and some of the most basic issues of daily life. Gallop considers intimate photographs of moments both dramatic and routine: of herself giving birth to son Max or crying in the midst of an argument with Blau, pouring herself cereal as Max colors at the breakfast table, or naked, sweeping the floor. With her trademark candor, humor, and critical acumen, Gallop mixes personal reflection with close readings of Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida, Susan Sontag’s On Photography, Kathryn Harrison’s novel Exposure, and Pierre Bourdieu’s Photography.
Presenting his photographs and her text, Living with His Camera is a portrait of a couple whose professional activity is part of their private lives and whose private life is viewed through their professional gazes. While most of us set aside rigorous thought when we turn to the sentimental realm of home life, Gallop and Blau look at each other not only with great affection but also with the keen focus of a sharp, critical gaze.