Stan Raucher

Stan Raucher


by Stan Raucher (USA)

I first photographed on a Metro during a three-week trip to Paris in 2007. This was one of my early forays into street photography, and I would photograph on the trains as I travelled from one neighbor to another. I visited New York and Shanghai in 2009, and again I photographed on the Metros as I travelled about. After returning from Shanghai, I decided to do a dedicated Metro project.

Written review by PAULINE VERMARE,
Associate Curator, International Center of Photography

I am very impressed with Stan’s Metro series, by the consistent quality of his images, and their visual strength. Clearly this is a subject that he is personally highly engaged with. And it is not an easy one to deal with, because of the potential self-awareness of the subjects, that could kill the pictures, and also because it is one that has been treated by great masters in the past (Evans, Davidson, Delahaye, to name but a few). Stan’s angle is a different one, not a replica. It has personality, it is attractive, and each image tells a different story.

I honestly find it difficult to be critical here, so I will start with the images that I find the strongest: by far, image 19 is the one that is the most striking of them all, because of the air on the face of the main protagonist, is it fear? His hand tightly holding his woman... And perhaps also because the mannequin head is giving it a surrealist touch, combined with the sleeping woman. The composition is excellent. The image is reminiscent of Robert Frank’s Americans.

Image 13 is also very good, wonderfully composed, a fantastic line up of interesting, intriguing, characters, all telling us a very different story. Image 11 is quite good, perhaps a little too empty to the left, but I like the tension between the woman and the man, and their reflection in the window behind them.

Overall I have a fondness for the way Stan photographs couples: there is love, there is tension, there is fear, but always a lot of tenderness, also in couples that do not exist, such as in image 3. Image 1 is equally tender, harsh and touching. I also love the feeling that emanates from his photographs of children and mothers: images 6 and 7 are very powerful and touching, the movement in image 6, the femininity in image 7.

Image 17, in a much simpler way, appeals to me a lot as well. This dog’s friendly face, his seemingly blasée owner in the background, the close-up, makes for a very good image. Stan’s close-ups could be repetitive – he uses them a lot – but he manages to use the technique differently each time, there is no redundancy –the result is never gimmicky.

The weaker images to me (they are never bad) are image 16, where nothing jumps at me. Image 14, which for some reason is too much in focus, something is missing: despite the overall good composition, and the man in the background who seems pretty tense, I don’t feel any tension.

Image 12 may also be a little too light, visually and thematically. Images 4 and 5 are good but I don’t feel compelled to look at them as long as the other, stronger ones. I don’t see an interesting story. But still, they are well composed. Image 2 is good but I feel I have seen it too many times already, somewhere else, perhaps a little too commercial, but good. It was a pleasure to discover Stan’s work.

I enjoyed watching these people as much as he did, I believe. It is a great quality, to be able to convey ones feelings through the camera. It takes a strong personality, human and visual, and generosity, and humor. So, I thank Stan and congratulate him, hoping that he will keep on hunting brilliantly in the subways of the world.

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