Photography Now 2017 – Christopher Paul Brown

Artist Interview

This is an open series of interviews with the artists in the Photography Now 2017 exhibition.


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Christopher Paul Brown: Katrin as Japanese Girl at Futuristic Store, 06-30-2016

1. Where are you from, and what is your background in photography? How did you get into photography?

I was born in Dubuque, IA, and moved to an area 50 miles NW of Chicago at age eight. I got my first camera at around age 9. At age 22 I got serious and bought a quality 35 mm and taught myself darkroom techniques. While I have been active in music and film since my teenage years, photography remained my primary solitary art. In 2014 I began shooting with models and simultaneously let go of music and video in order to concentrate on the creation and promotion of my photography.

2. What inspired you to make the work in Photography Now 2017? What is the work about? Please describe one piece, the evolution of the concept, and the process?

Model Katrin Dohse and I went to a semi-abandoned open air warehouse near my home. Beneath one of two unwalled but roofed structures we shot with the intention of capitalizing on the polarity of obscure/reveal. As Katrin twirled amidst stacks of crafted wood on a dirt floor, she held in her hands a silk shawl. I shot rapidly with a shutter speed just slow enough to allow some blurring. I find that using polarities, such as intent/openness and obscure/reveal, allows alchemical energies to be released. Serendipity and syncrhonicity begin to manifest. I continued with this in post-production and superimposed one image on another. Playing with layering and other manipulations I used obscure/reveal once again to manifest the final image. Often this process is largely unconscious; the end result is more like a found artifact than a planned creation of my own.

3. Much of the work in Photography Now 2017 seems to describe a distance between the subject and the viewer, a disconnection, and/or a dystopian situation. How do you think your work relates to these ideas?

Because my work is subterranean and unconscious it is like a shard of a half remembered dream. Like a Rohrshach test, there are many interpretations. My ony interest is in feeling the flow of alchemical energies. I don’t bring mental or societal concepts to my work.

4. What are you working on now?

I shoot very little during the winter and use the time to catch up on processing previous shoots. At this moment I am near the end of a 9-24-2016 shoot titled Shuffling Feet. It is a sort of dancing by model Dohse, shot head to toe, but with an emphasis on shuffling feet. Much of the shooting is on a dusty road.

5. What is the one photograph you always wanted to make but never could?

I have always wanted to shoot in zero-G with a black background.

General exhibition information:

Photography Now 2017
November 4, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Juried by William Ewing

Featured Artists: Lars AndersonSarah AnthonyBen ArnonSandra BacchiJohn BarnardEmily BerlAdam Bernard, Christopher Paul Brown, Tianqiutao Chen, Jennifer Garza-CuenOrestes GonzalezTamar GranovskyAlejandro Loureiro LorenzoJeanette MayZora MurffLaurie PeekCeaphas Stubbs and Ayumi Tanaka.

See full exhibition information or exhibition guide (