Born in 1971, Chris McCaw has worked obsessively in the darkroom since his teenage years spent photographing the punk/skateboarding scene in the San Francisco Bay area. Using his own large-format cameras with high powered military surveillance lenses and vintage silver gelatin papers, Chris McCaw’s most recent work tracks the sun’s movement through the sky. With interludes ranging in duration from 15 minutes to 24 hours, the lens concentrates the heat of the sun into a small, inflammatory dot, which moves across the photographic paper as the sun changes positions. McCaw explains: “When the conditions are right, the burning goes all the way through the paper base…Not only is the resulting image a representation of the subject photographed, but the subject, the sun, is an active participant in the printmaking…both creating and destroying the resulting photography.” McCaw’s use of the sun as both the subject and the medium of his photographs disrupts the idea that art is simply a representation of reality, asserting instead that it can become a physical embodiment of the earth’s movement and the passage of time.
Photographs by Chris McCaw are included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, among others.