About the Photographer
American, b. 1954 South Africa
Gary Schneider is known for his inventive portraits that extend beyond the figure in front of the camera into the elemental nature of the individual. Examining questions of identity and its complicated relationship to portraiture, Schneider has been photographing the hands of his friends, family, and colleagues since 1996. Using the photogram technique, he has his subjects place their hands directly on the film he exposes in the darkroom. Each individual’s palmar muscles, sweat and oils in the skin, and natural body heat combine to determine the imprint. The photographic emulsion registers the crevices and fissures in each hand, while unique pressure points form dark tonal passages. Schneider guides his subjects to press their hands down firmly on the paper, counting the exposure time out loud. The resulting portrait is a unique collaboration between artist, subject, and process.
Gary Schneider completed his BFA from the University of Cape Town, South Africa (1977) and MFA at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn (1979). His photographs have been exhibited at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego (2008), Musee de l’Elysee Lausanne, Switzerland (2000, 2003); the Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago (1998, 2001, 2007); and the PPOW Gallery in New York (1991, 1992, 1995, 1997), among others. His works are held in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.