Adrain Chesser is a self taught photographer who refined his craft and practice through a personal mentor/protege relationship with the photographer Rosalind Solomon, and later with the photographer Debbie Fleming Caffery. His first critical success came with the body of work “I have something to tell you” a personal exploration of what it meant to disclose life altering news. In 2004 he was granted a year long residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute. His work is part of the permanent collections of: Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Portland Museum of Art, and The Norton Museum of Art among others. His first book The Return was published by Daylight Books, Spring 2014. He currently lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. Today we share Adrian’s series titled Orange Blossoms, Fire Ants and The Tyranny of Memory.
Orange Blossoms, Fire Ants and The Tyranny of Memory
In 2000 I decided that I would return to where I grew up, to photographically document what it was like in to live in a small town in South Florida at the turn of the millennium. After shooting for a month, deeply disturbing memories from my childhood began to surface, which triggered a nervous breakdown. When I returned home I went into therapy. It occurred to me that if I could make a photographic representation of these specific events from my childhood, I could own them outside of myself as an object and that these memories would no longer hold a shadowy power over my subconscious.
From 2001 to 2011 I returned to Florida at least once a year to make images with friends and family. I would either recreate specific events or I would stay present in my process for images to arise that could hold the emotional weight of memories that remained half shrouded. In the end what I remembered was my resilience and defiance as a child in the face of an overwhelmingly large and seemingly unsafe world. What that came to mean for me as an adult, was the realization that the spectrums of my past had no real substance, as if they were only made up of vapor and light.
To view more of Adrain’s work, please visit his website.