Thursday, August 6, 2015

THE OTHERWORLDLY PHOTOGRAPHY OF JOHN CHIARA

“Sierra at Edison” (2012 , chromogenic photograph on Kodak Professional Endura Metallic paper) © John Chiara 2014.8.4 (Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum/John Chiara)


This week's arts and culture column begins like this:

I first encountered the work of San Francisco-based photographer John Chiara at a current exhibition at the Getty: “Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography.”

Chiara’s cameras are old-school: a box with a lens. They’re also huge. He makes them himself and transports them on a custom-made flatbed trailer.

“Basically I have to find someplace I can roll up, parallel park and somehow get the camera in a position to take a photograph.”

He literally climbs inside the camera, which he affectionately describes as a “suffocation box.” “I’ve kind of made photography as labor intensive as I think it could be.” He usually manages but one photo a day.

He uses no light meter, no stopwatch, no film. The images, printed directly onto photographic paper, leave serendipitous traces of the process: striations, spots, tiny messages from afar that could be rogue birds, random UFOs or lost mosquitos that bumbled into the suffocation box.


READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

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