About the Photographer
Roger Mertin was a photographer concerned with finding magic in everyday moments by exploring the American vernacular. In his Color Photographs portfolio (1980), Mertin found beauty in banal moments and the everyday. Mertin’s images have a reductive formal quality, reminiscent of the snapshot aesthetic, yet they are deliberately made with an 8 x 10 inch view camera, used for the amount of detail it can provide. His photographs include a variety of subjects, ranging from portraits to places to objects, yet each one is a depiction of ordinary moments and occurrences heavily informed by an intentional use of color. A nature theme runs through the portfolio, which includes several photographs of Christmas trees--both real and artificial--as well as a variety of plants, outdoor scenes such as beaches, and representations of animals.
In his Plastic Love Dream portfolio (1983), Mertin photographed the female nude within domestic spaces and the outdoor landscape. By using a variety of visual and optical tools, Mertin alters our perception of the women he depicts. He places them in a variety of provocative poses, in areas of intense shadow and light, underneath plastic wrap, lying atop mirrors, and juxtaposed with one another to create an individual, subjective, erotic visual experience. His images have a surreal, fantastical, dreamlike quality and directly engage with male desire for the female body. The portfolio includes an essay titled “Plastic love dream: a celebration of the female sex object” by Robert A. Sobieszek, former curator of photography at the George Eastman House and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Roger Mertin was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1942. He completed a BFA in Photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology (1965) and an MFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo through the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester (1972). Mertin’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally and are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, and the National Gallery of Canada. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts and the McKnight Artist Fellowship (1999).Mertin taught art and art history at the University of Rochester from 1972 until his death in 2001.