“Like some of his predecessors – Lee Friedlander, Walker Evans, Robert Frank – Elderfield has an eye for the kinetics of urban life caught on the run. But his images aren’t only about visual information. A formal structure holds them together, a patterning of information that balances one element against another or crafts a potent asymmetry.” W.S. Di Piero
The photographs by Jonathan Elderfield on view will feature approximately 16, 16” x 20” silver gelatin prints selected from his “ONLY Chicago” body of work, which has never before been exhibited or published. Taken over a period of more than two years, these recent investigations of city life signal the artist’s ongoing interest with seeking out and defining random moments that often remain overlooked. Elderfield began documenting urban culture while living in New York and continued on with new projects during his subsequent moves to Philadelphia and Chicago. Two examples from the artist’s previous series’ will also be on view.
The everyday interaction of people with their surroundings continues to fascinate Elderfield and presents endless opportunities to reveal the simple, joyous moments in life. Stopping time with his camera, he captures and frames the nuances that distinguish the urban existence from an insider’s perceptive in order to make the inconsequential monumental.
Elderfield’s process begins with mapping out his terrain, and repeatedly revisiting neighborhoods of interest during a project. Shooting may involve waiting on a corner for an extended period of time until an interesting face, form of light, or aspect of architecture captures his attention. While anything which falls within the physical boundaries of the city he is working in may serve as possible subject matter, gestures and various forms of body language interest him most.
Often times, he will also wander around for several hours, while shooting literally from the hip in order to remain undetected as demonstrated in Untitled, (Cotton Candy), 2004, on view. Most recently, he has begun placing his camera at eye level on a specific spot on the sidewalk, and shooting as people pass through the frame.
Constantly editing while shooting over long periods of time enables Elderfield to further develop and determine the efficacy of his decisions, resulting in work that vibrantly reveals Chicago’s raw energy, gritty surfaces, and the indomitable nature of its denizens.
Curated by W.S. Di Piero