Chris Shepherd: Constructs

Rounding off my tour of exhibitions last week was Chris Shepherd’s Constructs which is on show at the Bau-Xi Gallery on Granville Street.  It was another set of abstract work.

Shepherd’s images are the result of photographing something, then cutting, tearing, shredding or folding the print, rearranging it in another form and rephotographing it. He explains his methods in his wall text which was so helpful and a great learning tool.

Memory, nostalgia, documentation and other established tropes of the medium become secondary to the form and object, opening a dialogue about what an image is and what it means.

Chris Shepherd

Some of the images that I really was drawn to were his Bowie Sky images. He explains that the day after David Bowie passed away, he was out walking with his camera and he started to talk photos of the sky overhead. Upon returning to the studio he printed the images, arranged them in a sort of shuffled pattern, then photographed it (Bowie Sky Cubed). His other Bowie Sky Stripped image was made by slicing the photograph by hand using a ruler and utility knife – rather like large shreds, the rearranging the order and photographing again. When looking at the image one almost gets the impressing of movement from the way the strips have been arranged. His final image (Bowie Sky Stripped and Formed) was made by taking the strips he had used for the previous photograph, curling them and arranging them into a ball and then photographing the end result. I think this image was my favourite as there seems to be a bit of a mystery to this intricately formed ball of print strips. More of his work can be seen on his website.

Sky Crumpled, 2016 and Bowie Sky Stripped and Formed, 2016 by Chris Shepherd
Sky Crumpled, 2016 and Bowie Sky Stripped and Formed, 2016 by Chris Shepherd

This method of deconstructing an existing photograph and constructing a sculpture or another image from the result is incredibly interesting. But the economical me shudders to think of the cost of the prints that get destroyed in order to create another image. Reading Shepherd’s blog is extremely enlightening. His blog reads like a diary, documenting his processes and learning as he creates his images.

Reference List

Chris Shepherd [online]. Available at: http://chrisshepherd.net/ [Accessed 19 April, 2016]

Update 24 April, 2016

Photographer, Chris Shepherd stopped by my blog today and was kind enough to leave a comment on my review on the comments link above.

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8 thoughts on “Chris Shepherd: Constructs”

  1. Hello Lynda, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to visit my show at Bau-Xi and writing about it. It’s greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    You comment on the economics of destroying prints is interesting because that played into this body of work indirectly. For most people- who have lived in an era when photographs were actually printed and not just viewed digitally-there’s a reverence we feel towards those photographs. We embue them with a value. It’s typically based on their importance to us personally, but even a stranger’s photographs seem to touch us somehow. For these photographs it was quite difficult to push that reverence aside and actually crumple, cut and otherwise destroy prints. In an odd way this work was quite personal to me for those reasons.

    Thanks again for visiting the show.

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog Chris. I appreciate the time you have taken to respond to my review and for the extra insight. I totally empathize with your feelings.

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  2. Interesting blog post and how kind of Chris to comment 🙂
    One of the big “take-aways” from the OCA Foundations course for me has been the way I’ve learned to use prints as a resource for creating further work and not necessarily the end product in themselves. I have folded, cut, collaged, passed to an artist friend for further editing, cut flowers from pictures of flowers and mounted them in oasis foam…. I normally just use whatever cheap inkjet paper I have to hand, and without fail I’ve felt that the return in creativity and learning far exceeded the cost of a few sheets of A4.

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    1. It was great that Chris commented – I was really chuffed. I would have no problem cutting, folding and destroying regular inkjet paper. Its the large prints I would have a problem with. It is pretty expensive to get prints made here in Canada.

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