John Chiara’s one-of-a-kind prints push the boundaries of photography. Eluding film, Chiara photographs with a large, hand-built camera that the artist himself enters, taping the photographic paper to interior of the camera and manually burning and dodging the image as it is exposes. Light’s unpredictable movements and the ghostly presence of tape bring a lyricism to Chiara’s highly technical analog process.
For his latest body of work, Chiara constructed a giant camera and photographed the eclectic architecture of the historic Budapest. During an artist residency at the Budapest Art Factory last year, Chiara photographed in the neighborhood of Angyalföld in Budapest. Angyalföld, which translates to Dust of Angels, appears alive in Chiara’s exposures. With stark blues and oranges, Chiara invites the viewer to see the city with his fiery enthusiasm for the intermingling of concrete brutalist facades and softly swaying trees. The slick surfaces of his photographic paper allows for the geometry of the buildings to float almost abstractly within shadows and contrasting colors.
Included alongside his work from Budapest are photographs the artist took in his native California and in Mississippi. In these photographs, the artist looks upward. Capturing the serenity of clouds and the intertwining branches above him, Chiara focuses his gaze on the natural beauty of his homeland.