John Chiara

  • John Chiara



  • Born in 1971 in San Francisco, California. Lives and works in San Francisco, California.

    After spending an extended period of 1995 dedicated to making contact prints from his 2 1/4" X 2 1/4" and 4" X 5" negatives, Chiara decided too much information was lost in the darkroom enlargement process. Over the next 6 years Chiara developed his own equipment and processes to make 1st generation unique photographs (no film).

    John Chiara developed a process that is part photography part sculpture and part event - an undertaking in apparatus and patience.He creates one-of-a-kind photographs in a variety of hand-built cameras, the largest of which is a 50” x 80” field camera transported by the artist on a flatbed trailer. Once a location is selected, he situates and then physically enters the camera, maneuvering in near total darkness positive color photographic paper on the camera’s back wall. Throughout the exposure, his instinctual control limits the light entering the lens, using his hands to burn and dodge the image. These large-scale photographs are developed by hand in a spinning drum process that agitates the chemistry over the photographic paper that lines the interior of the drum – a process that often leaves behind traces on the resulting image.

    Chiara’s photographs are strongly perceptual, eliciting a visceral response, yet are rendered in soft hues that exude a strong sense of the viscosity of material and the ephemerality of presence.


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