MAGAZINE // ARTISTS
A MASTER OF LIGHT AND MANY SHADES OF GREY...
We view Fine Art photography as a combination of skilled craftsmanship, a distinct aesthetic and artistic style and the ability of the artist to convey his or her very own vision when portraying or composing the motif of their work.
One very important skill to be mastered both artistically and technically, is both use and understanding of light. It is maybe one of the toughest aspects of photography to accomplish. Light can be gentle, dangerous, dreamlike, bare, living, dead, misty, clear, hot, dark, violent, springlike, falling, straight, sensual, limited, poisonous, calm and soft. A play with light and dark, a new take on shade can give a image a new soul, can make the viewer explore hidden beauty or bring concealed darkness into light and will give new meaning to something seen maybe a hundred times before.
Meet Simon Chaput, an artist with a distinct vision, who not only commands light and darkness with his camera but also knows that a figure with curves always offers a lot of interesting angles and clearly knows how to make use of them! We love how he interprets a familiar shape into something new and never seen before and are honoured to showcasing his work on HEIST.
Born in France in 1952, Simon Chaput has had a passion for photography since his father gave him a Kodak Brownie camera for his 8th birthday. As a youth, he devoured photography publications and taught himself how to shoot and set up his own darkroom so that he could print his own pictures.
In 1996, he started his first long-term personal fine art series, “New York”, shooting the architecture in New York. This work is really what began his distinct style of abstracting the images by playing with negative space and paying special attention to the composition in order to achieve geometrical compositions that intentionally throw off the viewer and forces them to look at these otherwise recognisable buildings in a new way. His striking images of the World Trade Centre have become iconic and revered, as much as the buildings themselves before they were destroyed. The Brooklyn Museum bought one his photos from this series for the group show “Looking Back from Ground Zero”.
In 1997, Simon Chaput joined the Howard Greenberg Gallery, which still represents him today in New York.
He received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation in 1999 to document the Kogi Indians located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains, Columbia. Simon Chaput spent three months in the mountains shooting the isolated, ancient tribe to help them convey their environmental message to the world.
He then returned to his personal work and set off for Death Valley in California with a nude model. He was inspired by the way the female body echoed the sand dunes, but came to realise he could shoot the nude in the studio as the dunes themselves. Thus, his black and white “Nude” series began and he was given his first show at Howard Greenberg Gallery in 2003. He joined The Photographers Gallery (London) in 2003, and was given a show with the “Nudes” in 2004 and then the Fifty One Fine Art Photo Gallery (Antwerp) in 2005 where he had his first show with “Nude Dune” in 2007.
In 2007, he began his next long-term series, “Waterfalls”. The original intent was to photograph the extreme waves on the rugged western coast of Ireland, but due to a wave crashing his camera the first day of shooting, he had to reexamine his intent and possibilities. This led him to discover a waterfall in the area and inspiration struck. He continued traveling over the next few years to Ireland, before he discovered the many waterfalls surrounding his home base of New York. Given the precise weather conditions of little light and specific amount of water needed in the falls, it became easier to continue the series and travel close to home.
In 2009, Simon joined the Jackson Fine Art Gallery (Atlanta, GA) and had a show with the “Nudes” and “Waterfalls” in 2010. Since 2000, Simon’s work has been shown at the prestigious photo fair, “Paris Photo” in Paris, France with Howard Greenberg Gallery, and Fifty One Fine Art Gallery starting in 2006.
Simon’s body of work over the years varies from social and subject documentary, colour panoramic, and fine art black and white. Through his work with nature and individuals, he hopes to highlight social and environmental issues that affect the world. Balancing that with his artful black and white series, he enjoys sharing a different way of looking at beauty found around us, whether it is through architecture, the female body or waterfalls. Since the beginning of his photography career, he continues to shoot with film and develops at home in his dark room and prints on silver gelatine fibre base paper.