Philip Perkis(b.1935) began photographing in 1957 while serving in the U.S. Air Force. Subsequently he attended the San Francisco Art Institute and studied with Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and John Collier, Jr. He served as chair of photography at Pratt Institute and is currently on the graduate faculty for the School of Visual Arts and Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. A Guggenheim Fellow and NEA and New York Creative Artists Public Service grants recipient, Perkis’s work is represented in many museum collections, including: George Eastman House, The Getty Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY MoMA, and SF MoMA.
anmoc published Philip Perkis’s fifth book, In a Box Upon the Sea*, in December 1, 2015. Things contained within are fifty-seven photographs, mostly taken from 2008 to this year and selected by the photographer himself.
Philip Perkis has been working for more than sixty years as a photographer and photography educator. He made many of the pictures in the book during his four visits to Korea. Through editing, the photographer makes clear his spiritual connection to what he is seeing and photographing regardless of where the pictures were taken or what the subject happens to be.
“I keep on taking pictures in places I know and don’t know. There is a consistent result from one place to another. I feel the world outside of myself connecting with my inner existence. Photography is not an image of an object but an image of connection. With these photographs I get to learn about myself.” – Philip Perkis
Born in 1935, Philip Perkis is now 80 years old, and he continues to photograph with his small camera and print in his darkroom. His dream is to keep on taking pictures until his last days.
Philip Perkis’s photographs don’t necessarily give documentary evidence. They offer transformed ways to see and understand various aspects of life. The subjects of his photographs are frequently quite ordinary, yet the photographs are magic. He makes clear that a photograph can be made nearly anywhere and without narrative.
The new book also contains twelve written pieces by the photographer. The texts are, for the most part, descriptions of actual experiences. Like the photographs they are non-fiction and indicate the possibility of a larger arena. Both the photographs and the writing function independently while sharing a unique and expressive tone, atmosphere and point of view. By example, the reader/viewer is encouraged to experience themselves and the world with more openness rather than through categories and likes and dislikes.
“Looking at the world with a camera without technical manipulation or dramatization — in combination with developed sensibility and intelligence — can become a philosophical, even a spiritual act. The outcome of such action can correspond to the definition of “art.” If such a thing happens in photography, it is a “miracle” because we cannot know how it happened. Such things cannot be understood with the rational mind alone. Something of a finer nature has to come into play.” – Philip Perkis