Tom Chambers' photomontages capture visions we often see in art and dreams but rarely in real life. Somewhere between Baroque fairytales, folk rituals and Renaissance masterpieces, Chambers' photographs give familiar fantasies a sharp-edged realism.
Chambers was born and raised on an Amish farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He began experimenting with photography after he attended art school in Florida, and eventually began working in graphic design. Layering crystal clear images like elements in a story, Chambers creates works of magical realism. Three years ago, his work was featured on "Project Song," a series where musicians create an entirely new song in two days. For inspiration, Chris Walla (of Death Cab for Cutie) and J. Robbins (of Jawbox and Burning Airlines) chose Chambers' image "Black Dog's Retreat," (2002) -- an image of a dog perched on a canoe, watching a house slowly sink into the murky water below.
In an earlier interview with the Huffington Post Arts, Chambers described his process: "I initially sketch out a concept or idea I have for an image. Then, I photograph each piece of the image using a medium format film camera... This process may take as much as a month depending upon how quickly I am able to get all the shots and sort through them, picking the ones which work best together... Then, using Photoshop software with a Macintosh computer I combine each "piece", thus creating the final image."
The result is a stunning portrayal of classic beauty with modern technology. Gauze dresses glow with the same inner light as his angels' halos. Chambers' visual folktales are like documentation of events that never were. His photographs will show at Modernbook Gallery in San Francisco until June 2. Works from his newest collection "Illumination" can be seen, as well as his older collections "Ex Votos", "Rite of Passage", "Entropic Kingdom", "Marwari", and "Dreaming in Reverse."