I discovered this book on the dusty shelves of a used book store a while back. I'd never heard of Rocky Schenck. His book, simply titled "Photographs", struck me as an oddity at first. The images look little like photographs at first glance. I was scratching my head at first until I read the introduction. The images in this book were created with film and Mr. Schenck's process involves manipulation of both the negative and the print. The result is mesmerizing. His images are soft yet powerful. Dark and intriguing. Dream-like...perhaps nightmarish at times. They are unlike anything I'd ever seen. I simply had to have this book.
My collection of monographs has grown over the years. I love finding new books to add to my library. This one has become a favorite of mine and I look through it often. I love its dark imagery and I think there has been a subliminal influence in my own work since acquiring "Photographs." Darkness and lack of detail in shadows don't bother me anymore. Grain or noise is hardly a concern. Soft focus? Not an issue if the story is there. That's really what it amounts to - this book is a story book in pure imagery. There is just enough detail and plenty of abstraction for the viewer to create his or her own story from these images. Schenck gives you a starting place for your imagination to run wild in, a suggestion through light and shadow, a vague place or human form.
The photos presented in this book have an appearance that I can imagine as a blending of photography with painting or perhaps charcoal sketching. They resemble hand painted works of art more than photographs. If not for the title and introductory text, one could be excused for mistaking this as non-photographic art. I have no idea how Schenck created these images - not to say I didn't try searching for the answer to that mystery. Perhaps it's just as well. They just are. It is one of the most creative and thought provoking works I have come across and this book is indeed special to me.