Robert Heinecken, 1931–2006
Robert Heinecken died last Friday after suffering for 12 years from Alzheimer's disease. He was 74.
"In the 1960s, Heinecken began to develop an approach to photographs that was distinctive in the history of the medium. He sometimes described himself as a para-photographer, because his work stood 'beside' or 'beyond' traditional ideas associated with photography. Essentially, the artist decided that in the wake of the media explosion that had come to characterize contemporary life, enough photographs already existed. Rather than make more, he would manipulate existing ones. His art became an attempt to clarify, reveal and sometimes confound the subliminal social, political and artistic codes they contain. Heinecken was among the first to consider himself an artist who used photographs, not a photographer who made them. Today that approach is common. But in the late 1960s, when Heinecken published an influential portfolio of 25 prints titled 'Are You Rea,' the radical nature of the experiment was largely unprecedented." (Christopher Knight, The Los Angeles Times)
Posted by: DAVID EMERICK and MIKE JOHNSTON
Illustrations: Above left: Robert Heinecken, Shiva Manifesting as a Single Mother, 1989; above right: Robert Heinecken, Connie Chung, 1989