Strange Developments : Alternative Process Photography in the Bay Area

Posted on Jan 21, 2015

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area in February you can not miss Strange Developments. The premier event in Gordon's traveling artist conversation series, Strange Developments will include talks by artists John Chiara, Niniane Kelley and Chris McCaw, who will all be in conversation with art critic Larissa Archer.

Admission cost: $10 for SF Camerawork members // $15 general public.

For Eventbrite tickets click here.


John Chiara

John Chiara

Photo: John Chiara Bay Bridge

John Chiara developed a process that is part photography part sculpture and part event - an undertaking in apparatus and patience.He creates one-of-a-kind photographs in a variety of hand-built cameras, the largest of which is a 50” x 80” field camera transported by the artist on a flatbed trailer. Once a location is selected, he situates and then physically enters the camera, maneuvering in near total darkness positive color photographic paper on the camera’s back wall. Throughout the exposure, his instinctual control limits the light entering the lens, using his hands to burn and dodge the image. These large-scale photographs are developed by hand in a spinning drum process that agitates the chemistry over the photographic paper that lines the interior of the drum – a process that often leaves behind traces on the resulting image.

 For a video on John Chiara's Photographic process click here.


Niniane Kelley


Photo: Niniane Kelley Self Portrait in Platinum

Drawn to photography for both the immediacy of the image making process and the intrinsic alchemy of the darkroom ritual, she crafts her imagery using traditional 19th century processes which give each piece its own unique character. 

After generating an extensive portfolio working with the human form, she has emerged from the sequestered studio environment and is currently focused on the quiet beauty of the North State rural landscape. Embracing photography’s implied narrative structure, the current work functions as a form of autobiography, chronicling her frequent, unencumbered explorations of Northern California’s pastoral and largely unpopulated interior.

To see more of Niniane Kelley's work click here.


Chris McCaw

Chris McCaw

Photo: Chris McCaw Self Portrait with Beer

Chris has been getting his hands wet in the darkroom from the age of 13, and since then he has been unable separate his personal life from his photographic life. In a constant state of production of photographic work from that early age, he continues to be excited about the medium. 

Chris's early years involved self-taught explorations in skateboarding/ zine /punk scenes with a fisheye lens and Tri-X through the mid-late 80’s. After high school he learned everything he could about photography. Finally he fell in love with the simplicity of large format cameras, and in 1992 got his first 4”x5”. The following year he fell in love with the platinum/palladium printing process and even larger cameras. To this day Chris makes his living through the platinum/palladium process. Currently he’s working the boundaries of analogue photographic mediums with his project titled Sunburn.

To see a video about Chris McCaw and his work click here.

Strange Developments

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