Born and raised in South Dakota, Heather Chilson moved to Arkansas in 2005.
Influenced by photographers such as Imogen Cunningham, Alec Soth, Jane Rule Burdine, and William Christenberry, Heather’s work is most interested in evoking an emotional landscape.
Chilson uses her photography to capture the beauty of age as reflected in objects from our pasts. Using a myriad of cameras, she shoots in both digital and analog, using self-taught methods to process her film.
About the Work
“My process starts, most of the time, in the car. I pick a direction or an end point and drive until something grabs my attention and makes me stop. I choose my subjects intuitively. Sometimes an abandoned building or car grabs my attention, sometimes it is an object that reminds me of my small hometown, which was the backdrop for my early imagination. Always, the questions driving my work are narrative: How did this get here? What was the last moment that someone used it and why? I am drawn to this sense of mystery, and to the visible effects of time—rusted metal, glass fallen from windows, boards that have begun to grow moss or rot. For me, each of the subjects I photograph has a story to tell about resilience and flexibility in the face of change. As such, part of my process involves allowing myself to be fully present with and immersed in each subject, exploring it from multiple angles, using different cameras and even multiple developing techniques in my home darkrooms, until I find the best way to let each faded sign or abandoned building narrate all that it has survived. “
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