STEPHEN CHALMERS & NAN BROWN
The photographic work of Stephen Chalmers recognizes the ubiquitous presence of popular photography in contemporary culture. By photographing psychologically charged spaces, Chalmers draws on the viewer’s familiarity and desire for such imagery, while he cooly detaches such imagery from its popular tropes. By creating new conditions in which to experience seemingly familiar subject matter, Chalmers’ photos take on a discursive character, examining the nature of representation. The series Transience contains photographs and interviews of Snowbirds and the individuals who use RVs as permanent residences – along with landscape images of the areas they occupy.
Stephen Chalmers has worked as a Lead Treatment Counselor to Severely Emotionally Disturbed children, worked as an Emergency Medical Technician, and taught gang children photography – informing his projects which deal with issues of loss. Chalmers has taught many workshops in alternative photographic processes and digital imaging, and been a visiting artist at numerous colleges and universities. He has also been a contributor to four books, and has been in group and solo exhibitions throughout the US and also in Australia, Ireland, British Columbia, England, South Africa, and China. Stephen Chalmers earned his MFA in Cinema and Photography from Southern Illinois University, and was professor of Photography and Digital Media in the state of Washington for eight years. The work of Stephen Chalmers is in several collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Lightwork, Polaroid, and the Getty Research Institute.
The photographs in Nan Brown’s series Trailers Collected refer obliquely to a subculture or lifestyle. They often seem both at odds and at one with their environment, at odds because of their unapologetic artificiality juxtaposed to surrounding forest or ranch and at one because they suggest the individualism and freedom intrinsic to American rural life. Trailers are so versatile and useful that the nature of that culture cannot easily be corralled, certainly not within a silly stereotype like “trailer trash” or even a category like poverty. Yes, they offer ubiquitous, inexpensive shelter, but they also can serve those seeking simplicity, “freedom”, or a get-away, and even those just needing storage. For the most part, a mobile home is just that, a home. Trailers Collected is a work-in-progress begun in 2003 that has grown to sixty traditional black and white images.
Born in New York City in 1952, Nan Brown moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with her family in 1954. In the early 1970’s, Brown studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. Brown’s work includes a broad range of subject matter united by her formalist aesthetic and taste for irony. Nan has studied with Ansel Adams, Mark Citret, and John Sexton and, as a Fine Arts Major at the University of Nevada in Reno, with Peter Goin.