America’s dissention over the Vietnam War was at its height when Robert Schiller, then 16 years old, picked up his camera and began to photograph the antiwar movement in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
That was the beginning of a journey that has taken Schiller around the world, observing the dualities in life — happiness and beauty, versus the cruelty of reality and sorrow. His work has exposed troubling scenes that many people tend to avoid or ignore.
A 50-year retrospective of the local photographer’s work will be on display at Kenosha Creative Space from through Dec. 15. A meet-and-greet with Schiller will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. today.
Schiller, said a half century of working photographically has taught him to be thankful for the life he has led, and the wonderful people with whom he’s come in contact.
“Wealthy or poor, healthy or sick, everyone has a story worth listening to,” Schiller said. “I have always learned more about the people by listening, before I photograph. That trait has made my photographs relevant to me, and hopefully to my viewers.”
A long way away from his early works close to home, Schiller, in 2005, spent three months in Luanda, Angola, a country devastated by 25 years of civil war. On a more peaceful note, he has captured many breathtaking scenes on his travels to America’s West, and elsewhere.
Each image is the product of an original, untouched 35-millimeter negative, with no computer manipulation or alteration applied.
Francisco Loyola, Kenosha Creative Space executive director, said the diverse, provocative nature of Schiller’s work is in keeping with the mission and programming of the nonprofit organization.
“We are proud to present a sampling of Rob’s long, evocative career,” Loyola said. “At the Kenosha Creative Space, we aim to showcase local talent, and to present programming that gives people a deeper understanding of our world. This exhibition accomplishes that, and more.”