About the Photographer
American, b. 1964
Since 1984 Andrea Robbins and Max Becher have collaborated on projects that use photography, video or digital media to address cross-cultural influence—or, as they put it, “the transportation of place.” In documentary-style color images, Robbins and Becher explore how geographically distant and culturally disparate places come to outwardly resemble each other, following practices such as slavery, colonialism, immigration, tourism, and mass communications. At various times, the artists have investigated subjects such as the remnants of German colonialism in Africa, German fascination with American Indian culture, and the descendants of African-American slaves living in a secluded pocket of the Dominican Republic.
In the series "Global Village," Becher and Robbins photographed a "discovery center" at Habitat for Humanity's international headquarters in Americus, Georgia, where settings from slums and poor villages around the world are physically replicated in order to raise public awareness and draw donations. These simulated environments, as depicted in pictures like Bedroom with Wash Bowl and School Room, are themselves modeled after photographs and video footage of the original sites. Becher and Robbins adopt different photographic styles from series to series, depending on the particular subject, and the photographs from Global Village are modeled after the work of Farm Security Administration photographers in the 1930s and '40s, who documented the effects of the Great Depression in the United States.
Robbins and Becher met while attending Cooper Union School of the Art, New York, where they both earned BFA degrees in 1986, and were later married. Robbins went on to complete an MFA at Hunter College School of Art, New York (1989) and Becher earned an MFA at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, in Brunswick, New Jersey (1989). Both artists are professors at the University of Florida, Gainesville.