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Winter Group Show – Tom Chambers: Fire and Ice

photo-eye Gallery Winter Group Show – Tom Chambers: Fire and Ice Fire and Ice and Where Salt Meets Sky, two works by represented artist Tom Chambers' recent series Still Beating, are prominently featured in photo-eye Gallery's Winter Group Show. Corresponding with the Winter Group Show, Gallery Director Anne Kelly spoke with Chambers regarding his imagery as well as his forthcoming retrospective book Hearts and Bones due out from Unicorn later this year.

Installation View of Tom Chambers' Fire and Ice and Where Salt Meets Sky in photo-eye Gallery's Winter Group Show
Fire and Ice and Where Salt Meets Sky, two works from represented artist Tom Chambers' recent series Still Beating, are prominently featured in photo-eye Gallery's Winter Group Show. Chambers uses photomontage to build enigmatic and emotional single-setting narratives often framing situations as sacred and imbued with a sense of urgency. For Chambers, the images are only a snapshot of a larger story unfolding outside the photographic frame. Using magic realism, a style of storytelling that is paradoxically believable and impossible, Still Beating presents narrative imagery about the vitality of all living things whose survival is challenged.

Corresponding with the Winter Group Show, Gallery Director Anne Kelly spoke with Chambers regarding his imagery as well as his forthcoming retrospective book Hearts and Bones due out from Unicorn later this year.




Fire and Ice, 20x20 inches, Archival Pigment Print, Edition of 20, $1,200 – Tom Chambers

Anne Kelly:     Your image Fire and Ice, which is included in our current exhibition, is getting a lot of attention.  Can you tell us a little more about the making of this image? 

Black sand beach on the southern coast of Iceland.
Image by Tom Chambers
Tom Chambers:     Fire and Ice is an image from my latest series Still Beating.  This series presents narrative imagery about the vitality of all living things whose survival is challenged.  The image started with a photo I took of a black sand beach in Southern Iceland.  Chunks of ice from a nearby glacier washed up on to the shore which looked like jewels in contrast to the black sand.  I kept that image in my back pocket until the right idea came along.  That idea was a girl holding a bundle of sticks in flames at one end with a bird building a nest at the other symbolizing survival of the species against all odds.



Cover for Heart and Bones by Tom Chambers published by Unicorn, due out later this year

AK:     Can you tell us about your new book? Is it correct that the book will include work from 9 different series?

TC:     Out of the blue Unicorn Publishing from London contacted me about their idea of publishing a retrospective book of my nine series.  The person in charge of their North American division had visited the photo-eye Gallery during a vacation in Santa Fe where he saw my work.  He pitched the idea to his company and they decided to do a retrospective book.  The book will be 210 pages including 125 images from my nine different series and will be marketed in bookstores, galleries, and museums in the US and UK, as well as on Amazon.  The publisher has decided that the book will have appeal beyond a photography audience and priced it to be accessible and affordable at $45.

Entropic Kingdom by Tom Chambers, 2012, published by Modernbook Editions – $75

AK:
     This will be your third book.   How has the process varied from book to book and publisher to publisher?


TC:     Yes, there have been two other books.  My first book was published by Modernbook Editions in April 2012 and was on photo-eye’s list of “Best Books for 2012”.  Modernbook, now Themes + Projects, is a gallery representing my work in San Francisco.  In addition to my fine art photography work, I am also a graphic designer and have worked producing magazines and designing packaging since the 1980’s. With my graphics background, Modernbook invited me to design the book Entropic Kingdom. Next,  Werkdruck No. 6, was published in May 2015 by a German gallery, Galerie Vevais.  This was a small book that featured my Illumination series.  This book fits in with a selection of books from other photographers, all combined together in one case.  This was pretty much a hands-off project for me, except for occasional communication with the publisher and proof approvals. I am proud of both publications.

Where Salt Meets Sky, 20x20 inches, Archival Pigment Print, Edition of 20, $1,200 – Tom Chambers

AK:     You are designing the new book as well!  Tell us about that process.

TC:     The Unicorn publishers were familiar with my first book Entropic Kingdom and asked if I would be interested in designing the now soon to be published retrospective Hearts and Bones.  The format is 11” x 11”, which works well with my mostly square images and is divided into sections for the nine different series.  Other than some basic parameters, I was given full rein to create the layout and overall look.  I am using Adobe InDesign software on a Mac computer for the layout and production.  210 pages turned out to be the perfect size to present the best images from my nine series.  We decided upon the title Hearts and Bones because it is very descriptive of my work which is both emotional and connected with the earth and nature. The jacket will feature my popular image, Prom Gown #3. I am immensely grateful to Elizabeth Avedon who has written the introduction section. At one time Elizabeth worked for photo-eye and is now a photography book and exhibition designer, independent curator, and writer.

I must say that the Unicorn people have been wonderful to work with because they are very positive and encouraging.  The whole process has moved along smoothly and we are on schedule for an early October release.  Currently, the book is at the proof reading stage. Next, revisions will be made, the book checked over a number of times, and finally, it will be sent off to China for printing.

AK:     Any words of wisdom you would like to share about photo book publishing?

TC:      I wish I had words of wisdom for how to have a photo book published.  I have been fortunate that publishers in each case contacted me directly and initiated the book projects.  I would not recommend someone doing the production on their own book unless they have had previous experience working on graphic design related projects.  Marketing the book is the most important aspect if you want the book to be seen and your artwork to get the best kind of exposure.  All this will stretch out over a couple years if done correctly. My strength is in creating the artwork and designing the book. I have relied upon other professionals for the publishing and marketing of the books.

photo-eye EDITIONS portfolio by Tom Chambers
DREAMING IN REVERSE





The Winter Group Show is on view at photo-eye Gallery through March 24th, 2018.

For more information on Tom Chambers, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com.

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