Charlie Rubin is a New York City based photographer with a book out.  Rubin is no stranger to Frontrunner.  He showcased a series of photographs he took from China as part of the Parsons Residency at Frontrunner Gallery a few years back.  His work is engaging, walking the fine line between fact and fiction, nodding to altered perspectives, and our own relationship to reality in a digital age.  FRONTRUNNER sat down with him to discuss the book and take a look at the work.

What perspective do we get with this book? Fact or fiction?

It’s a mixture of both and that’s a main subject of it.

What influences your book making, printmaking, and collage work?

Contemporary design, painters, movies, and the fabric of the city.

What is Kaleidoscopic in your perspective?

Transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary and adding a psychedelic effect.

How is technology a factor in your work and your chosen medium(s)?

The technology of the digital camera and then the cell phone camera drove me to start altering my photos. I got to a point where i was bored with my straight photography. anyone can take a beautiful picture nowadays and that’s something i had to confront. It’s like when the camera was first invented, painters started to express themselves in different ways, this gave way to expressionism and abstraction. Now we’ve come full circle and photographers are wondering how to express themselves in new ways by expanding the medium.

You have travelled to China, showcasing your work and others at Frontrunner. What was interesting about that experience for you?

China was like nowhere I’d ever been. totally unique culture. Skyscrapers live next to hundreds of years old neighborhoods with shared bathrooms.


What do you have planned for the future?

Making more stuff, i’m playing with tapestries and more collage work at the moment. I’m also involved with Neighboring Walls which is open call art shows in apartments of local artists.

Who should Frontrunner profile next?

I recently met this dude CHUCK when he contacted me to make an album cover and music video with him. He’s making some wavy ass music that more people should hear.

Strange Paradise ambles between the peculiar and the familiar, as Charlie Rubin works intuitively to create unexpected combinations with idiosyncratic logic. Taking perception as his waypoint, Rubin presents a kaleidoscopic body of work that explores the convergence of the actual and the artificial. While some photographs are manipulated, many are left unchanged, serving to pace and balance the work, and to further question what is real and what is altered. Buy it HERE.