New York

Charles Traub

Hudson River Museum

When Charles Traub is out on the street, he sometimes goes up to strangers and asks to take their pictures. If they agree, he snaps a portrait “before a self-conscious mask can be prepared for the camera,” according to a statement that accompanied the show. The results are disconcerting, and not just because Traub has caught these people somewhat off-guard. He has in fact put them in a very peculiar position by taking their pictures while standing extremely close—so close that his own shadow occasionally falls on his subject, even at midday. These color portraits have been made with a wide-angle lens which allows Traub to get this close and still have sufficient depth of field and speed to shoot by reflex, without warning. But I don’t think it matters how long Traub gives his subjects to ready themselves for the picture. At this range a camera has a powerful gravitational effect on a

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