Charles H. Traub


PRESS RELEASE: Charles H. Traub, Feb 17 - Apr 23, 2011

Charles H. Traub
Feb 17 – Apr 23, 2011

Gitterman Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of vintage black and white photographs by Charles H. Traub.  The exhibition will open with a book signing and artist’s reception on Wednesday, February 16th from 6 to 8 p.m. and continue through Saturday, April 23rd.

This exhibition is comprised of photographs that Charles H. Traub made during his last semester in college through his time in graduate school and is concurrent with the release of his fourth monograph, Object of My Creation (Gitterman Gallery, 2011).

Traub studied with Art Sinsabaugh as an undergrad at the University of Illinois.  Upon graduating, he went into the Peace Corps but an injury forced him to return home to Kentucky.  There, he sought out Ralph Eugene Meatyard, the most important creative photographer in Kentucky at the time. Meatyard became a great inspiration and family friend.  Following a brief stint in the army, Traub was left with little ambition, aside from the desire to pursue photography and thus applied to graduate school at the Institute of Design in Chicago.  He studied primarily with Aaron Siskind, who became a mentor and lifelong friend.

Traub describes this time in his introduction:

When these pictures were made, I was still in my salad days.  A “yout!” An admirer!  A wannabe!  I was looking for me.  Hip lifestyles, pseudo spiritualism and pot euphoria teased maturity.  Nature was the supposed alternative to the material pursuits and the junkyard of suburbia, but from my service experience I knew all too well the vicissitudes of its wrath. The darkroom was safer than the tent.

What Traub had captured with his camera lens took on new life in the darkroom: it became an object of his creation. 

After completing his graduate studies in 1971, Traub made three well known series of vignetted black and white images in Chicago:  Beach, Street and Parties. In 1976 Traub began his first major body of work in color, Street Portraits, which he continued after moving to New York City in 1978. For the past 35 years, he has worked exclusively in color and was an early proponent of digital imagery.

Throughout his career Traub has dedicated himself to photographic education.  He has been instrumental in the founding of both the department at Columbia College in Chicago and the MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in New York, which he still chairs.

Traub has edited, co-edited, and written many books on photography, its history and critical thought, including:  In the Realm of Circuit: Computers, Art, and Culture, a textbook (Prentice Hall, 2003); An Angler's Album (St. Martins Press/Rizzoli, 1990); Road Trip; Photographs 1980-1988, with Aaron Siskind (Friends of Photography, 1989); Italy Observed in Photography and Literature, co-edited (Rizzoli, 1988); The New Vision: Forty Years Of Photography At The Institute Of Design (Aperture, 1982); Light (Light Gallery, 1981); Beach, monograph (Horizon, 1978); In the Still Life (Quantuck Lane Press, 2004); Charles H. Traub (Gitterman Gallery, 2006) and many others.  His work has appeared in many magazines including: Zoom, Camera International, Camera Arts, American Photographer, Popular Photography, Aperture, Afterimage, and I.D. Magazine.

Charles H. Traub’s photographs are represented in many institutional collections including: Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; Chicago Center for Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Fogg Museum, Boston; George Eastman House, Rochester; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.