Robert Heinecken

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Robert Heinecken Image above was created in class using a page from Martha Stewart Magazine using Heinecken's methods.
American, 1931 to 2006
After studying printmaking and lithography and acquiring an MA in 1960, Heinecken began teaching at UCLA where he began their prestigious photography program. He is notable in particular for being a photographic artist who rarely uses a camera. His philosophy is that the world has more than enough images without him acquiring more. He felt his efforts were better served in studying the images we do have, most notably those printed in magazines. He is a self proclaimed “para-photographer” with his practice taking place beside or beyond traditional photographic approaches. The rare times that he would use a camera would be to use a Polaroid to re-photograph other photographs.
To get below the surface, as it were, he creates work that often look beyond the image we initially see and investigates the medium it is printed on, the magazine. By creating contact prints of pages of magazines, he presents an image which is a composite of both sides of the page with results that are surreal, confusing, satirical, comical, and culturally critical.
He uses a Cibachrome or Ilfochrome technique which is a way of printing positive images from another positive (traditionally a slide but also from a contact print). The colours are highly stable and vibrant.
Heinecken also devised a system in which he would place photographic film on the television screen and capture a contact print image from the broadcast. He created a series of these “videograms” based around Ronald Reagan’s inaugural address in 1980, combing the images that he’d not yet seen with text added as a later in the exposure.
Somewhat based upon Heinecken's 1981 "Lessons in Posing Subjects/Fantasy Narrative #1", the class was assigned "The Big Lie" project.
Heinecken is quoted as saying: "Many pictures turn out to be limp translations of the known world instead of vital objects which create an intrinsic world of their own. There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph."

Links to images A B C

Student workshops and responses to this technique.