About Robert Houser
New England, born and raised. Though I have lived in California for all of my adult life, you cannot take the New Englander out of me. It follows me. I’m determinedly independent, critically frugal, I don’t take myself too seriously and yes, sarcasm slides in as an icebreaker. I make images that are real, that show a connection, that make you feel.
Photography entered my life at RISD, an extra course while I was at Brown studying Psychology and Comparative Literature with French. The photography courses at the Rhode Island School of Design reinvigorated my artistic side that STEM classes had hidden for a decade. And though I worked on locked psychiatric wards while in college, it was the time in the darkroom that I came to love. I became passionate about the medium, but my academic background stayed with me – psychology taught me to connect with people, to notice things they do or say, and to find a way put them at ease. And, Comparative Literature, it’s all about stories – a multi-disciplinary look at a theme. Decades of images later, I tell stories about people.
Health and fitness because I am passionate about both. I am as comfortable spending a day with a rare disease patient as I am playing with a runner on a wooded trail. For both I start with the person; a lifestyle image to me begins as a portrait.
While I work for advertising clients, personal projects are an important part of the studio’s emphasis. Constantly shooting – it’s both exercise and learning to me – be it breaking down fitness movement with an examination of dance, or creating medical related exhibits for the nonprofit I founded. With Facing Light, our first project, Facing Chemo, has traveled to galleries spaces around the US and Europe, and it has been featured in publications on six continents. We recently completed a project called Seeing Blindness and are currently photographing athletes who are amputees.
What else? I live on a ranch and my studio, in the barn, is a certified green business. As an urban farmer, I tend to two bee hives, three goats, eight chickens, a pond full of koi, two golden retrievers, and a field of vegetables, oh, and the used-to-be teenagers are out. I’m not sure which I prefer driving more, my Kubota tractor or my location Sprinter van.