Richard L Shenk Photography
in the news
Aspen Sojourner Summer 2008 Cover Aspen Sojourner Summer 2008Article in Aspen Sojourner
"Artistic Relations"
May, 2008
By Hilary Stunda

Article in
The Rotarian
March, 1991

Rotarian Rickard L. Shenk is a self-taught photographer who lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.  He is a charter member and past president of the Rotary Club of Springfield, Ohio.  Since the early 1970s, he has participated in the world of photographic art as both a photographer and photographic collector.

Early on, Richard decided to forgo those categories that have been well-exposed by other photographers "portraits, sunrises, sunsets, landscapes, all that stuff."  He also avoids those subjects that dominate the final image, and tries to "eliminate the extraneous and isolate the exceptional."  The subjects he photographs are not necessarily beautiful.  "I find something that may not be inherently attractive," he says, "but it may have some appeal to me, and I try to translate that through the medium of photography onto paper.  Everything has a beauty to be discovered by the imagination.  I'm fascinated by all the little things we pass by all the shapes, patterns, cracks."

Richard has gathered 52 of his images in a book, A Different Way of Seeing (Sheyna Publications, 270 Northland Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45246, 60 pages, $40, plus $3 shipping; limited edition in slipcase with one original print, $250).

"Richard Shenk's Photos Like Small-Scale Poems"
The Cincinnati Enquirer
By Owen Findsen

There's more than one way to look at a photograph.

Most people look at the image, the face object of view in the picture, not at the print itself.  For those who enjoy photography as art, the image is only part of the picture.  It's not only what is photographed but how the picture is taken, printed and presented is important.   

All those elements are in the work of Cincinnati photographer Richard Shenk, who is showing more than 80 photographs at the Skirball Museum, Hebrew Union College.

The exhibition, "A Different Way of Seeing," is an overview of 20 years of picture taking by Shenk, a contemplative perfectionist who pours himself into each image, from exposure though printing.

"This is my life," say Shenk, who devotes every day to taking of printing pictures.  His work includes images from Israel, Over-the-Rhine and nature.  His work follows the classic American photographic tradition of such photographers as Ansel Adams, Aaron Siskind, Edward Weston and Paul Strand.

Shenk finds detail a wall, building, natural form and studies it, looking for something essential that will make a picture.  It is a process of selection, photographing, developing and printing that is a journey to an image.

"You don't just go into the darkroom and make a print," Shenk says.  "Sometimes, you may print a negative 15 or 20 times before you get the print you want."  Shenk might even put a negative away for months until he has a clear vision of what the print should be.

The resulting print is a balance between an abstract design and a recognizable object.  Shenk is a master printer who refines his images as if he were aging a fine wine.  His superb prints are like small poems, with all the necessary ingredients in the right places and nothing unnecessary remaining.

Richard L Shenk Photography