Monday, March 8, 2010

Chris McCaw, SUNBURN at Stephen Wirtz Gallery through March 27

I know Chris McCaw from when he used to work at SF Camerawork; he's a really warm, self-effacing guy who almost seems more kid than grown-up, but has this amazing patience with photography that is inspiring. Chris shoots primarily with view cameras which he builds himself, and used to make his own photographic paper. He has been doing work over the past couple of years involving long exposures of the sun, which sometimes results in a burning of the photographic paper inside the camera. From Chris's website:
After struggling for a few years and thinking about this new way of working with time and exposure, I wanted to see what else could be done with different media. Through trial and error, in late 2006 I chose to use vintage fiber based gelatin silver black & white photographic paper. By putting the paper in my film holder, in place of film, I create a one of a kind paper negative. Being the first generation, the evidence of the scorching is right there front and center and the solarized image becomes a positive. The gelatin in the paper gets cooked and leaves wonderful colors of orange and red, with ash that ranges from a glossy black to an iridescent metallic surface. Not only is the resulting image a representation of the subject photographed, but part of the subject (the sun) has become an active participant in the printmaking.

Sunburned GSP#202(SF Bay/expanding), 2008. 16"x20" unique gelatin silver paper negative

Chris spoke with the First Exposures group last Saturday about his process, his goal for his work, and his love for photography. My favorite part was when he spoke about the fact that since all his works were one-of-a-kind, he initially had a difficult time letting go of his pieces. As a photographer, you become used to being able to absolutely replicate anything you initially create. Chris talked about how his friends who are painters and sculptors laughed at him, basically telling him, "Oh, you photographers. That's the way things are supposed to work."

Chris McCaw

Chris's work is currently being displayed at the Stephen Wirtz Gallery at 49 Geary Street, SF through March 27, 2010.

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