Monday, April 2, 2012

Stephen Chalmers Reaction

When I first saw Stephen Chalmers’ Speaking Light presentation being promoted at Point Park, I figured he specialized in nature photography. The beautiful photograph (titled “JC”) I saw was of blooming trees in a grassy field. But after learning more about Chalmers, he’s much more than a nature photographer; his photographs are of places where dead bodies were disposed of. This obviously puts a very dark twist on his peaceful, serene landscape photos. The titles of the photos are the victim’s names, which adds another creepy dimension, but I find it quite fitting. As I saw his work, I paid close attention to the names and it kind of made me reflect on death. Jane Doe, Debra Estes, Dennis Frank Fox. How did these people die? Why were they dumped in these particular locations? Obviously Chalmers did his research for this project, but it certainly makes the viewer wonder. It’s haunting how beautiful many of these places are, too. The places vary quite a bit: in the forest, near a creek, in a grassy field, among rocks. But they’re all similar in the fact that they have this sort of emptiness to them. It feels like something is missing. I think Chalmers did a fantastic job with the composition and creating that empty feeling. Overall, I like Chalmers “Unmarked” series. It’s a unique idea and is a haunting twist on nature photography. It’s certainly inspiring to see someone take such a different approach with the idea behind the image.

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