I am curious about the way we look at the planet and ourselves. I explore the Earth’s origins, our connection to the Ocean, and our physical and spiritual presence in nature. Ultimately, I’m seeking to answer the question “Why are we here?”
Creating prints in the darkroom, I enjoy freedom of expression through experimentation, while honoring my training in traditional west coast photographic techniques. It all comes together in images which I hope convey feeling and resonate with the viewer in an unconscious way.
In the Liminal – This new and ongoing series is based on ideas about the human species and the relative permanence of the earth, with questions about our brief time here. This unique moment on the planet feels unsettling and desires perspective. My intention is to provide intimate suggestions of our place in this liminal state, reflecting on the planet’s origins, our own lineage, our physical and spiritual presence, and the future of humans being. My prints are each unique results of an alternative photographic darkroom process that I feel conveys the mystery and elements of our existence. The images are in sequence, representing a sort of timeline of the evolution of our planet.
Surfacing – The Surfacing series puts the viewer in or on a body of water, looking across its surface. I am interested in the tension and serious psychological themes which “surface” in these images. Water as a symbol of the unconscious is a place where we explore our hidden shadows. Perhaps the water’s surface, the edge of the unconscious, is a place of dreams and reflections. To fully realize my vision, I use hand brushes in the darkroom, and later paint the image with dyes. I have also been printing this series using copper bleach and lith developer, which creates magical grain and tones. Each print is unique.
Deeper – This in-water work evokes curiosity about the Ocean’s deep landscape, how it relates to dry land, and what is “normal” for human beings, now and in our rapidly changing environment. There is a profound connection between the watery world and our more familiar dry land. One experiences this connection in the way the land feels and light plays both above and below. I feel this awareness is important to the Ocean’s survival, and ultimately, to our own survival. All prints are toned gelatin silver prints.
Underwater – The Underwater series explores the sense of being underwater as a human being, immersed in the mystery of the Ocean with beauty and fear as companions. One has a sense of seeing and feeling but not knowing. These images range from literal to enigmatic depictions of the vast, random and surreal underwater world, hinting at a metaphorical translation of our own experiences in foreign worlds. I create these prints using traditional darkroom techniques, including toning. My handmade process is important to the power of these fine prints, which echo early photography, when exploration and expression of the landscape was vital. For anyone curious, I have been diving on SCUBA for 30 years and use a Nikonos V film camera.
Toy Camera Series – Toy camera is a category of film cameras which includes the original and new Diana Cameras, the Holga series, and anything else which is cheap and fun. I started using a Holga in 1999 as my land camera.
“To use a Holga is to utterly change the terms of reference most people use to interpret photography.”—Holga Packaging
Robin V. Robinson is a 5th generation California central coast native. Mentors have played the most important role in Robinson’s artistic development. She has studied, lived and worked with West Coast photographers on the Monterey Peninsula and in the Bay Area for over twenty years. Robinson also studied photography at City College of San Francisco and Foothill College. Her degrees in engineering and music from Cal Poly and Stanford Universities and her personal studies of depth psychology contribute to her distinctive style of seeing and creating art.
Robinson shows her work in community venues and art galleries internationally, in corporate spaces, private collections and museums. She has received top awards in international photographic competitions, and her work is in the permanent collection of the Monterey Museum of Art, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, and the Mariners’ Museum in Virginia. Robinson was a Fine Print artist at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, CA, and is a board member of the Monterey Friends of C.G. Jung. Her work recently appeared in the Dark Mountain Journal and Silvergrain Classics magazine.
Robinson embraces the element of chance, both underwater and in her Monterey, California, darkroom.
“My time in the darkroom is full of ‘what-ifs.’ The experimental nature of chemistry allows me to explore pathways which are magical, alchemical in feeling, transformational in the end. This type of play and chance are what I love about analog photography, not to mention a satisfying original print.”