// Robert, who lives in New York City, is both a photographer and a musician and composer. He came to the camera as if it were a new musical instrument and developed a pure passion for the art of photography. Robert shared a series of flamenco dancers in Andalucia, Spain.
While Robert holds a Masters in music and has spent a lifetime composing, playing and teaching full-time, he now shares his passion for music with one for photography. Trained at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan, he has exhibited his work in two group shows and one solo exhibition, with more in the works. His most basic goal as an artist is to make photographs forever.
One of Robert´s favourite quotes is by the New Orleans sculptor John Scott (below). “I think it’s amazingly true. We aren’t artists. The world has to tell us we are. And even then it cannot be put on a business card or CV. It has to just be experienced as such.”
“i am not an artist until the community tells me that i am. i can´t call myself an artist.”
What draws you to art?
What impressed you most about the experience of photographing these dancers and musicians?
“Flamenco, sketches in rhythm, story, music, and photography are for me the epitome of pure untethered passion at its most powerfully beautiful.”
When travelling through Andalusia, Spain, especially in Sevilla, Cádiz, Córdoba and several other cities, one is almost certainly going to encounter flamenco dancers and singers performing in plazas and music bars. Flamenco is an art form that dates back to the 18th century, and although it is often associated with the presence of “gitanos” (travelling people) it is now thought to be a result of an interchange of different cultural influences. Flamenco is incsribed as one of the masterpieces of the UNESCO Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity This Andalusian musical style is now popular all over the world (we even saw a reference to the existence of flamenco schools in Japan!).
Some flamenco styles are sung unaccompanied, while others have guitar or other accompaniment. Some forms are danced, and some are not. To qualify as a flamenco, the music must have certain key elements, including the distinctive tonality, compás (a particular rhythm), usually a flamenco guitar, and it is traditionally performed according to predefined structures.
The music has evolved quite a lot over time, where now nuevo flamenco (new flamenco) is a fusion of flamenco guitar with other musical styles, such as jazz, rock, rumba, and even reggaeton and hip hop.
Robert likes to say that the moon is already beautiful without needing to be illuminated by the sun, but although we do not exist for the reflection of ourselves in the eyes of others, we sure are interesting as shadow and light bounced back. This is of course true for Robert´s photographs of these musicians and dancers, which tell a compelling story of passion and joy, skill and beauty.
Images may be cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see the original version.
ALL PHOTOS © ROBERT SHERMAN
If you would like to see an example of some outstanding flamenco dancing, you could take a look at this recording from the Ballet Flamenco Andalucia during a Flamenco Festival at New York City Center.