Chas Ray speaks

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Where do you work ?

I’m based in Columbus Ohio, US. An old store front serves as my studio. 

Describe your work

I’m interested in the narrative and cinematic possibilities within the still photograph.

I am mostly known for my sex noir approach to sexual imagery. 

What inspires you ? 

I don’ t rely on inspiration. I’m committed to the “Work.”  Work in the magick sense of the word.

“If you can’t be original, be inventive.” is one of my mantras.

Who are your main influences ?

Richard Lindner: iconic vocabulary

Irving Penn: lighting

Ralph Gibson: composition

William Burroughs: non linear thinking, “word is image, and image is word.”

Alfred Hitchcock: psychological suspense 

Film Noir: the mystery of shadow

All of surrealism

My friends

Tell us something of the creative process that you use.

First I think about the background, the surface. When I am satisfied with the background then the subject and I are free to make the images that come to us, which are played out against the background. Usually I have no preconceived ideas. I work intuitively courting chance as I go. During the process when the idea does presents itself I follow it. Another mantra when working is, “make it dangerous.”

What do you find is the biggest obstacle to your work ?

Lack of funds.

The limits of my intelligence.

The dichotomy between purpose and self-indulgence.

Do you prefer digital or film ?

Film or digital, it doesn’t matter. Its the image and communication of the idea that counts. I am not overly concerned with the delivery media as long as the image output has integrity and is well crafted. Since 2002 I have only used digital.

Do you use particular models ?  If so who and how did you encounter them ?

I prefer to work with someone more than once, two or three times when possible. Multiple sessions allow the development of a relationship, an understanding of what each needs to get out of the work. Since I seldom have a preconceived idea before I begin. A first session may point to a direction in which to go for the next session. There are models with whom I have worked with as many as twenty times over a period of two years. This length of time and number of sessions allows barriers to dissolve and new image possibilities to present themselves. 

I rarely solicit women to work with me. In the beginning I worked with my women friends and their friends. With the advent of the web social media, with a profile and portfolio online, I now get enquiries from models who wish to be photographed in my style. 

What separates your work from others ? 

We are swimming in a sea of images, there is no separation. Although, some images are deeper than others. A good photograph is not necessarily a good work of art. The trick is to know the former from the latter, and not to kid yourself. In my better work I try to raise questions rather than to give answers, to bring something ambiguous and mysterious to the image. In my less successful work, obsession and fixation are all too obvious. Whatever I do I want to bring style, a certain “je ne sais quoin,” to it. 

Where have you mostly shown your work ? 

In recent years I seldom exhibit. Exhibiting is an expense. I prefer to use funds for the production of new work. I have concentrated on publishing to reach a wider audience. The internet and web sites have provided a good alternative to fixed location exhibitions. I do surface from time to time with an exhibition when I have work I wish to see fully realized or when the right venue materializes.

Do you know, typically, who buys your work and why ? 

There is no pattern as to who acquires my work. Most often, other than knowing their name, buyers are anonymous. Why would one acquire my work? The images speaks to them?

Who do you think you have influenced in turn ? 

From time to time people will tell me I have influenced their work or the direction they have chosen to follow. I always thank them but tell them, “do not blame me.”

Are you represented by a/ several gallery/ galleries ? 

None at this time

Anything else you would like to tell us ? 

I try break down model/photographer paradigm. There is no model, there is no photographer (its a Zen thing). The premise is, we are just two people mutually exploring aspects of our sexual persona. Why are we together in this room making these types of images is the question I ask myself and the woman.

~ by chasray on February 6, 2016.

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