Helmut Schillinger arrived in Haiti with a naive sense and desire for tropical allure and adventure. He got more than he wished for, the good as well as the bad. Many of his European values were turned upside down, but the misery and poverty that he encountered were often balanced by a natural beauty and a different kind of wisdom that he was taught by the largely illiterate rural population. Schillinger says, "I let you the viewer of my images decide whether what I found and photographed contributes to the view of a still largely African world. Someone said once that Haiti today still has more of the original African lifestyle than Africa now."
Haiti has a long and complex history which was first recorded when the European navigator Christopher Columbus stumbled upon a large island in the western Atlantic Ocean that later came to be known as the Caribbean. Most recently Haiti has been in the news because of the devastating earthquake in 2010 that caused mass destruction. But Haiti is so much more than a historic footnote, or a recent tragedy. It is a country rich in history and tradition--its people, survivors. This is the spirit Helmut Schillinger hoped to capture in this exhibit.
In the late 1970s, Schillinger moved to Haiti, where he lived for 3 years on assignments with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. For his black and white work, the 2-1/4 square format Mamiya and the 35mm panoramic Widelux became his favorite cameras.
He later moved to the Bay Area, where he pursued undergraduate and graduate studies with an emphasis on Human Consciousness and Art. While there, he joined a photographer's group with its own exhibit space in San Francisco. He has exhibited in the Bay Area and in Munich, Germany. When digital scanning methods became available, he scanned his negatives for higher quality printing than was available with an enlarger and wet darkroom. His first exhibit of scanned and digitally printed photographs was three years ago in New York.
Helmut Schillinger — Citadelle, Fisherman, and Peasant
Jane Schreibman's photographs were taken by the Arabian Sea, where it touches the shores along Mumbai — here the masses give way endless space. The sea is thick with dreams; they float on the water, churn through the waves, and end up as mysterious objects on the shore, packages wrapped in palm leaves, bouquets of orange marigolds, or fragments of the Gods. Young girls wander the sands looking for golden cloths and bracelets released to the sea as the Goddesses disintegrate, strange entities emerge from the tides. Walking along this shore is haunting.
"I keep thinking of the sea as a repository of legends, a
great swirling element not to be probed by human
schemes, a great nocturnal bowl filled with fragments
of the past... an epitome of all poems that would
never be written."
— Frederick Prokosch from Voices
Jane Schreibman studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute but is now based in New York. Schreibman’s work has been published and exhibited in Europe and the United States; her photographs are in both private and public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Fine Art Museum - Houston, the National Biblioteque of France, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. She is the recipient of the Asian Cultural Council Grant, for which she traveled throughout Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan photographing at the shrines of holy men and women. She has also published many articles pertaining to the cultures where she has photographed.
Jane Schreibman — Torso, Floating Head, and Boy