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SPBH Ten Questions

Charlie Engman

The photographer discusses how books can be useful to him, the route into the ‘anti-category’, and shares his love for Audre Lorde.

1. Show us a sample of your work.

1. Deep Sea Display, 2011

2. Screen Shot 2012-11-15 at 9.23.23 PM

3. Dad on My Couch, 2017

4. Division Cynicism Limits Isolation Apathy Despair Decline Ego Exclusion Partisanship Blame, 2016

5. Mom with Temporary Tattoo, 2016

2. What research is currently most informing your practice?

I have a deep belief in the idiosyncratic, incidental, arbitrary, marginal, and messy. The most efficient way to access these categories, or anti-categories, is through intuition and play followed by rigorous critical analysis and awareness.

3. Which photograph are you obsessed with right now and why?

This image is everything. Power, history, community, economy, sexuality, aesthetics, access, authorship, fashion…

4. What video can you not stop watching?

5. Can you give us five links to things you think we should know about?

Isopresso (Balloon animals)


Rare Moment Feather Star Is Caught Swimming

Jonathan Haidt – “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion”

Zami Sister Outsider Undersong

6. How many photos do you have right now on your phone? Please share one

…and feel free to give us some context if you feel like it.

27.813 photos. @charlieengman for more context than you’ll ever need.

7. Can you send us a pic of your desk/workspace?

8. What is the most coveted photo book you own and why?

I am not precious about books. For me, for the most part, they are material to be used, abused, sliced up, re-gifted, and occasionally used as a miniature tabletop. My favorite photo books are the obsessively descriptive ones that often have some explicitly educational or catalogic intent. The images in these books are always a tender mix of artistic impulse and deference to the subject, and they often embrace graphic design in surprising and exciting ways. One I particularly love is Shells in Color by Kjell B. Sandved and R. Abbott.

9. What concerns you?

Representation / Visibility

10. What makes you happy?

Vulnerable animals at play.




About Charlie: Charlie Engman (1987, Chicago) began working with photography while completing a degree in Japanese and Korean Studies at the University of Oxford. Formerly involved in theatre and dance, with an abiding interest in visual and sculptural movement and gesture, he initially began using photography primarily as a note-taking device and a convenient way to share ideas. Engman’s work has appeared in a variety of international venues, including the Lisson Gallery, the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography, and the Manchester Art Gallery. His commissioned work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vogue US, and Dazed & Confused, and has been used by brands such as Stella McCartney, Hermès, Vivienne Westwood, Kenzo, Calvin Klein, Adidas, and Nike. Charlie currently lives in New York City.

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