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Conversations with Chris Carr

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Carr.

Hi Chris, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
My journey here has been an exciting adventure so far. I have been pursuing creative outlets my entire adult life. In my late teens and most of my twenties, I was a musician with dreams of writing and recording original music. But at some point after 25, I began to want to pursue other creative avenues. So I stepped away from full-time music and got a new degree from Valencia College in graphic and web design. After a couple of years of classes, I began working in more corporate jobs for almost a decade before growing tired of cubicle life. I felt my creative soul was slowly dying. During this time, I really found photography to be an outlet for my creativity. I started out with travel and landscape photos on vacations and dabbling in some portraits and engagement shoots of friends and family. After a few years, I began developing an eye for the way the world looked in the water reflections while developing my new hobby. At one point, I realized I wanted to find a way to make photography my full-time job. And it wasn’t until late January 2015 when I took the leap to do that and work for myself.

Two weeks after my position at a web design company was terminated, I received notification that my new reflections series had been accepted to exhibit at Photo Independent in Hollywood, CA. To me, this was a clear sign I was making the right decision. Over the course of the next five years, I continued to develop my eye for shooting water reflections and did a handful of events just trying to find my own path in the art world. And just like any new endeavor, I was just trying to make connections to exhibit and sell my art. I am thankful for the friends and mentors along the way who gave me encouragement and helped me keep growing as an artist and entrepreneur. Each year I kept adding more and more events to my schedule and traveling around the country in support of them. Exhibiting at art events and shooting reflections everywhere I went. Sometimes stopping just to shoot pictures before driving to another city. Since my theme was reflections, I felt my subjects were unlimited especially after I learned how to craft my own puddles with a bottle of water. Some days when there were no existing puddles where I needed them to be for the right angle I had to improvise. That skill gives me the ability to create commission work if someone has an idea for someone or something they want to have captured from a more unique perspective.

Of course, all the travel and art shows came to a screeching halt in early 2020, like a lot of things due to COVID. Luckily for me, I was accepted as an artist to the McRae Art Studios in mid-March 2020. This gave me a new art studio to go and work in while everything was locked down. So I took advantage of this downtime to make improvements to my website SEO and social media shopping channels. After that, I took time to think of ways I could better present my artwork. This is really important as a fine art photographer since there is no one original as the case with paintings and sculptures. Everything is a print and how you present the finished piece can make or break the sale of a piece of artwork. In my earlier days as an artist, I did not always focus enough energy on the final presentation of my photography. Thinking my artistic style alone would be enough to generate lots of sales.

Over a span of time I have asked folks how they like their photography artwork… in a frame with glass, wrapped canvas, metal, acrylic? It can be quite overwhelming to think about. And since my work is all reflections, I have never been a fan of putting a lot of my work under framed glass due to the glare the glass adds over my photos. I have used wrapped canvas a lot in the past but this format can be very boring. Metal and acrylic prints look really sharp but are very fragile to travel with when you have to do a lot of packing and unpacking. Recently I have continued towards the trend of not only printing myself but also the mounting and finishing of each piece. I started building my own floater frames to hold the artwork to give each piece a nice clean and finished presentation without glass and customizable in color to fit the style of any space. Just another step in my artistic journey. I look forward to being able to exhibit and sell my work in person again soon. For now, I continue to promote my work through my website, social media channels, and Amazon. And I continue to find new and exciting ways to create compositions using reflections.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road but nothing worthwhile in life ever is. There have been some struggles along the way for sure but I would not change any of them. They have helped me grow into who I am today and help me appreciate how far I have traveled on this road. I struggled in the beginning years to really talk openly about my artwork. Talking in front of people never really bothered me. But it takes time (and practice) to figure out exactly what you want to say about your work and yourself to sound interesting to other people. Another struggle I had was deciding what subject or subjects I should use for new artwork. You should always push yourself to try to create work with every kind of subject matter. Push your boundaries but don’t be afraid to use simple things as subjects. I found it’s more important to practice and create every day. And using simple subjects helps you achieve this practice by not overthinking and just working.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a fine art photographer who creates my photos using the reflections off of the water. Mainly from small puddles of water. Taking full advantage of the natural double exposure you can see with shallow reflecting water, I am able to naturally create complex compositions that appear as if they were heavily edited and layered in post-production software like Photoshop. But the only editing I do is to rotate the images 180° so that the subject in the reflection is oriented like you see it in the real world and not upside down like all reflections are. I have even become quite good at making my own puddles when needed with nothing more than a bottle of water. I think the reflection perspective sets me apart because the vantage point makes my compositions both familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time. Creating a greater sense of mystery and intrigue for the viewer.

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
For me, success is measured by more than just monetary means. Connecting with people on a personal level through something I created is a success. Being able to pass along the knowledge I learned from those who mentored me to those who are up and coming is a success. I guess I define success by the connection and impact on others I make along the way.

Pricing:

  • Wall Art – $50 up to $1,500
  • Art Prints – $35 up to $125

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Profile photo by Juliet Romeo Dilenno.

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