The Solemn American West Through the Eyes of Jesse Chehak
|I’m obsessed with Tarzana-born Jesse Chehak‘s photography, and in particular his “Fool’s Gold” series. Shot on a Toyo 45AX camera (the modern-day equivalent of those accordion field cameras from the olde thyme past), Chehak’s images are characterized by a rapturously beautiful natural lighting that seems impossible to capture with such subtlety in the CCD of a standard digital camera.
The “Fools Gold” series includes pictures taken all over the western United States, mixing portraits, landscapes and still life imagery to convey a tenebrous yet sympathetic world-view. There is a narrative at play here that comes across on an implicit level, without compromising the strength of each photograph as a work in its own right. Chehak has been compiling the body of work over some time as he travels the country, embedding himself deep within the smallest of small towns, searching off the beaten path for the perfect images. It makes me want to pick up a large-format camera and go on a road trip of my own!
+ Via Hey Hot Shot
The pictures are the results of several long, contemplative, road trips based on prior geographic and historical research. I often revisit significantly narrative locations, while shooting spontaneously the contemporary circumstance. Each picture is a meditative interaction between myself, the camera, and the subject. The result is an attempt to connect the past and the present, revealing some truth behind the opportunistic nature of the American West.