At the start of his lecture, Charles Traub quoted Aaron Siskind when he said “the only nature I am interested in is my own nature”. But these words where promptly denied by his works that showed us his actual interest for the human nature.
His earlier photographs testify how, during the ‘60s, getting back to nature was important for him and how ambivalent was his relationship with the landscape. At first, to him, nature was synonymous with landscape, but soon something took him back to the streets: his desire of investigating the nature of humans brought him back to Chicago during the ‘70s.
“Lunchtime” documents his escapes from his office at lunchtime and his walks on the street meeting people at random. Through these pictures all of us can experience the connection, the community between the subject and the photographer, conveyed by a pose, a gesture, a smile, a blink. As he said, we are all actors, we are all preparing ourselves for a presentation wearing a mask that suits us and that we are comfortable with. That’s why his portraits are shot close to the subjects, focusing on just their faces and shoulders with only a little background behind them: people take the opportunity to reveal something of themselves to the camera. As a result, Traub’s shots are colorful, direct, animated and somehow intimate and they drag the observer into a variety of different worlds.