Emotionally evocative and painterly in execution, Rocky Schenck’s photographs invite viewers to enter an otherworldly realm where reality becomes a dream landscape haunted by paranoia, isolation, longing, beauty, betrayal, fear, humor, and death. The author John Berendt describes Schenck’s photographs as stills “taken from a movie that exists not on film but rather in one’s memory, with all the fuzziness typical of remembered impressions.” Photo District News proclaims, “It is a measure of the curious strength and unity of vision of the photographs that after you’ve examined all of them, you feel that there is no other way of seeing the world than his, that there is no other photography you’d rather be looking at.”
The Recurring Dream presents new work by Rocky Schenck. In addition to his signature black-and-white dreamscapes, the book introduces color images that Schenck creates by hand tinting black-and-white prints with color oil paint—a practice dating back to the Victorian era that makes each individual print unique. Schenck explores psychological, metaphysical, and pictorial worlds, ranging from suggestive landscapes to scenes of people dwelling in various “found realities” and the occasional manufactured reality. Inspired by his rich dream life, the images insinuate subtle narratives that entice viewers to create stories in their own imaginations. A foreword by the director William Friedkin, who has used Schenck’s photographs as sets for several operas, and an afterword in which Schenck describes his creative process complete the volume.