Whether New York Photographer, David Drebin truly sees into our minds, or simply has an astonishing imagination is a question I can’t answer. The fact is, he has a startling ability to mine the human psyche for emotional gold.
Think back to those moments when, newly arrived in a city, you vainly attempted to size yourself against it, to imagine your tiny David triumphing against its Goliath. Probably, even in your own mind you were challenged, even stumbled, as we all must when facing the scope of society and its mores. The new job, the university, the new kid in town. We’ve all been there, attempting to send out tendrils, to establish roots and belong.
Facing The City © David Drebin
Drebin’s photographs, for me, provide a breathless, sometimes claustrophobic insight into the swirl of emotions one feels as a tiny being in a sea of humanity, cloaked in concrete and unseen, but deeply felt. Their movie-like, somnambulant quality brings to mind every romantic French poet and writer I read to assuage my teenage existential angst. The riddle of what it is to be human absorbed me through fascinating reams of Sartre, Cocteau and Rimbaud.
Beautiful navel-gazing, perhaps, yet these photos have a grittier feel, and one is acutely aware that the arena is huge. These rooms where languid, strange and beautiful women lounge and gaze are the stage sets where anything can and may be about to happen. Did someone just leave? Is she waiting for someone? Is she in danger?
New York Times © David Drebin
We don’t know, but the sense of something lurking, whether in the shadows or the subconscious, is tangible. The scenes have a feel of a beautiful orchid, a hothouse flower, waiting, possibly doomed. Like sets in a film noir, they evoke tension, oppression, seduction and desire simultaneously.
Girls Night Out © David Drebin
Particularly compelling for me are the use of water and fire, with the girl recoiling in the water, as she is propelled into it backwards. Fallen or pushed? We can only conjecture. The naked girl walking through a heart of fire, with its easy-to-read symbolism, is still unnerving and violently beautiful.
Heart Of Fire © David Drebin
Get lost in dreams. The truth is in there.
David Drebin has photographed many celebrities, including Charlize Theron, a fact that underlines the cinematographic nature of his oeuvre, and Theron’s personality in particular, with her Amazonian beauty, and larger than life passion and energy is an extremely apt subject for his visual enquiry.
See Drebin’s intensely beautiful photographic world for yourself, either in his exhibition at Opiom Gallery in Cannes, which opens today, or one of his gorgeous books. Get lost in dreams. The truth is in there.
David Drebin © David Drebin
All Photographs Copyright © David Drebin (With Permission, Opiom Gallery)