Dick Sanders – Portraits At Sam’s Market

28.05.2011 in09:01 in People, Portraits -->


During most of 1997 and early 1998 I spent many of my Saturday afternoons camped outside of Sam’s Market, a convenience store in my (then) hometown of Joshua Tree, California. I had put up a seamless backdrop to make formal portraits of the locals as they stopped for milk, beer, cigarettes, and ice cream. My intent was to explore the idea that “people anywhere can stand for people everywhere” and thus serve as a metaphor for the human drama. I do believe the work is kind of fiction, not so much depicting individual lives but representing our common humanity. Here is an excerpt from my artist’s statement in 1998: “In this show you will see images suggesting everything from Leonardo Da’Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ to Henry David Thoreau’s ‘quiet desperation.’ If the work succeeds, you will also see yourself.” In 2002, American Photo chose two portraits from this series as their 1st Place Winner in their Readers Contest (Portraits & People category). Editor David Schonauer said in his editorial, “Sanders astonished our judging committee with a series of portraits that are probing and positively human.” In the same issue, Amy Arbus said this about my work: “Sanders’s images pay homage to Richard Avedon’s In the American West photographs, but they have a more modern, snapshot aesthetic.”