Click to preview I'LL BE RIGHT BACK (expanded 2) photo book

Inescapably, we spend a lot of time in bathrooms. Yet we hardly look at them, even though we have plenty of time to do so as nature takes its course.
In 2002, when I switched from film to digital and began carrying a small digital camera in my pocket at all times, I began to look seriously at bathrooms. Over the years it became a project, one of my ongoing series of pictures. (For others, including the two largest, Edible Complex and Vehicular, see my website,
As with all my pictures, I photograph what intrigues and surprises me. I look for what I could not possibly anticipate but on some level immediately recognize as my own. I am not uncritical, hence the irony and (I hope) humor in these pictures, but I don't wag a finger. Since there is something of me in each picture, my way of seeing tends to embrace and accept rather
than disown.
In this I think the great master is Robert Adams, whose photographs and writing have influenced me greatly. My admiration for William Eggleston should be obvious to anyone who has seen his work, though I hope mine follows its own path. I am also indebted to John Gossage for the example of his work and his artistic stringency and for the time he generously spent with me. Other photographers whose work has especially informed and inspired my own include, of course, Walker Evans, as well as Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Henry Wessel and Mitch Epstein.


About the Author

Eric Levin
ericlevin Montclair, NJ, USA
By day I am senior editor of New Jersey Monthly. (In a previous life I was editor of special projects at People Magazine for 11 years.) By night and during the cracks in the day, I am a photographer. I have exhibited in numerous group shows and had a solo exhibition at Studio Montclair, Montclair, NJ, in January, 2006. I also do a daily photo blog, Plain Sight, on the homepage of New Jersey Monthly ( Excerpts from my series of bathroom pictures, "I'll Be Right Back": Visits To Mens' Rooms and Bathrooms" can be seen under the Artists section of Gallery 51 (

Comments (3)


artpaxton says

What a delight. I laughed out loud on seeing the first picture, the open trash can, but don't ask me why it's funny, or why I found the pressure gauge on the floor so amusing. Many are obviously witty, but not so obvious is the contrast and variety that spices up an easy flow. Keep doing it - I'm sure there's more where this came from.

posted at 06:08pm Oct 29 PST


ericlevin says

Quite right. Thanks for the comment.

posted at 07:25am Nov 05 PST


ameliacameli says

Don't forget Edward Weston's great photographs of his toilet in Mexico in 1925 and then in Death Valley (1937-8). . . .Amy Conger

posted at 04:55pm Nov 04 PST

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