It only takes a moment in the company of David Drebin to understand what motivates him to take incredible pictures. Across the dinner table, his eyes are constantly scanning the room, he tries to look inside the minds of the other diners in the room, attempting to figure out the relationships and emotional dynamics between the sitters. He is a combination of voyeur and psychologist, his pictures offer us a window into the emotions and experiences that every person feels at some point. Often the viewer can relate to the situation being presented, a memory is brought back to the fore of their mind, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes sexy.
Capri Dreams by David Drebin
His breathtaking cinematic expertise (something he mastered during his time at Parson’s School of Design in New York) draws strong references to the work of both Gregory Crewdson and Phillip-Lorca diCorcia, two other technically skilled and acclaimed artists. Indeed, the cinematic aspect of his work is essential to what he is trying to achieve. Cinema is often seen as the last refuge of true romance. What often happens in movies is perceived to be unrealistic and unlikely to occur in the mundane lives of the viewer, but the cinema relentlessly pursues the ideals and the dreams that the scripts encapsulate. Drebin’s work is the same in this respect, a commentary on the world of today, technology and information driven, dehumanized by the advent of email and cellphones, a world apart from the 1950s and 1960s world or Coca Cola, Drive in Movies and Marilyn Monroe.
Bay of Cannes by David Drebin
Drebin wants us to believe, to feel, to be rehumanized and romanced about what can happen tomorrow, to forget the regimented and everyday existence of today. For the viewer it can be a frustrating experience, for each picture is both informative and provoking at the same time. On the one hand we are given a window into an emotionally charged scene between lovers, but it is only ever a freeze frame in time. We never get to see the outcome, we are only given a fleeting glance. In this respect Drebin is a storyteller, with the exception that the viewer gets to decide how the story ends, perhaps tragedy, perhaps happy ever after, its all in the mind of the viewer.
Dreams of Central Park by David Drebin
It is no coincidence that his first book released in 2007 was titled “Love and Other Stories”. His panoramic cityscapes are the ultimate embodiment of what the artist is trying to achieve. The glowing cityscape by night offers us a view of not one but thousands of stories, every light in every window opening the viewers mind to what may be going on, each and every one and movie script that will never be told. It is no coincidence that the pieces are in panoramic format, an homage to the widescreen movie theaters in which motion picture story telling is played out. The viewer is invited to write their own story as to what is happening in any given location. Love story, death, disaster or tragedy, it is all before the viewer, it is up to them to decide where and when the story takes place. Drebin says it best himself, “Some type of emotional response when looking at my photographs would be ideal…for me the most gripping photographs are either funny and sexy, sexy and sad or sexy and funny without being sad”