Charles H. Traub

(1945) American


Charles H. Traub was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1945. He studied at the University of Illinois and joined the Peace Corps after graduation but was forced to return home due to an injury. Back in Kentucky, he met Ralph Eugene Meatyard, the most important creative photographer in town. Meatyard became a very important inspiration for Traub, who decided to pursue photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago. He primarily studied with Aaron Siskind, who became his mentor and lifelong friend. After completing his gradute studies in 1971, Traub made three well-known series of black and white photographs in Chicago: Beach, Street, and Parties. In 1976 he began his first major body of color work, Street Portraits, which he continued after moving to New York City in 1978. For the past four decades, he has worked exlusively in color and was an early proponent of digital imagery. Traub is co-founder of here is new york: a democracy of photographs, which received the Brendan Gill Award and the ICP Cornell Capa Infinity Award. He has had many one-person exhibitions in major galleries and museums throughout the world and his work is held by many important collections.
Throughout his career, Traub has dedicated himself to photographic education. From 1971 to 1978, he was instrumental in the founding of the photography department at Columbia College in Chicago, which is now the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Currently he is chair of the MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media Department at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Renske van Leeuwen
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