Beginning in about 2003 or so, the subject’s face started to disappear very quickly. This was in a period called the Shadow Chamber period, and it ultimately ended up in a book called Shadow Chamber, I think, in 2005, but beginning then I started — the face started to disappear. The picture started to become increasingly complex and increasingly dominated by drawing, painting, objects, installations perhaps, but integrated through photography. And this is really an important thing to recognize that the pictures are still integrated, that stick to photography, through the moment, through a deep understanding of black and white in film and photography.
So, there are a lot of people who are artists who try to make installation, and then photograph them, but the pictures don’t jump off as photographs.1 What you see in my work — are photographs. And a photograph to me — as I said, is partly defined as a process that defines — that captures something that can’t be — the mind sees it as something that can’t be repeated again. It’s an authentic moment. And so, yes, the pictures started to become much more — well, they started to borrow and integrate other art forms, as I said, so it’s like painting and drawing and sculpture. And I started to see myself more as a multi-dimensional artist rather than just a photographer. And so, I see myself as a — I guess as an artist first, and maybe at the same time as a photographer.
And so, I started to go on a, I guess, a track, a road that sort of started to separate me from anybody else in photography I think. I guess some of my early work in Platteland and Outland, you might say, you could compare it maybe to Diane Arbus or whatever, that started in the beginning, in 2003 or so, my aesthetic I think started, really just be Roger, just nothing — I started to mature in such a way that you couldn’t really find anybody else to take pictures like that. And my goal has never been oh well, to find a unique way of taking pictures is never a goal. It just all happened completely, completely organically. I don’t have any — as I told you, I don’t think about what I’m trying to do.
I don’t plan what I’m trying to do. I just do it.2 I don’t even think it. I don’t think about words. When I go out for pictures — I don’t say “Well, this is a sad moment, this is a pretty moment. This is this.” I don’t think it’s — it’s a nothing moment. I usually think it’s just a nothing moment, it’s an impossible moment to put into words, it’s beyond words. If the picture is beyond words when I take it, I know I might have something good there, because you can’t define it. It’s got its own complexity. If you can define it with words in a way, it means the mind understands what it’s looking at, and then it’s not a challenge to me.