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Inside the Artists' Studio: John Chiara, The Craftsman

John Chiara

I Am a Camera catches one’s attention amongst the titles of coffee-table books in John Chiara’s industrial live-work studio on Alabama Street. For a man who builds large-format cameras, which he hauls on trailers up and down the California coast, it is tempting to take this as his mission statement.

Chiara’s workspace is filled with manly but sentimental artifacts—including surfboards and board games made at home during his youth—that mingle with plants, art, and a low-key mix of midcentury and Empire-style pieces.

The San Francisco native’s singular supersized photos of landscapes—hand-processed here with a motorized scooter and a large canister drum—are so moody and saturated in dusky hues that they are almost abstract. So it comes as little surprise that surrealist filmmaker David Lynch included Chiara’s work in his selection for this month’s Paris Photo exposition. 

This article was published in 7x7's November issue. Click here to subscribe.