Title: Swamp

Publisher: GOST Books

Number of pages: 136 pages

Date of publication: April 2016

Dimensions: 200 x 255 mm (portrait)

Cover/binding: Hardback

ISBN: 978-1-910401-08-8

Price: £35 / €45 / $60

Born in Aspen, Colorado, Chloe Sells began using photography in her artwork in 1993. With the use of large format film cameras, she produces each unique C-type print by hand in the darkroom. In some case, she works further onto the surfaces of her imagery using paint, marker and ink.

Currently she divides her time between Botswana, Africa, where she photographs and London, England, where she processes and prints her work. Each of her artwork is the result of in-depth manipulation of the printing process in the darkroom; physical, spontaneous and deliberate all at the same time. She employs experimental methods such as screens, overlays, open-weave fabrics and movements of the paper, expertly combined to create her unique photographs. 

In her recent publication Swamp by GOST Books, we can see exactly this kind of practice. All the images inside the volume are taken in Botswana, which we can recognize just as an exotic imaginary. In the artworks nothing is clear at first glance.

The book is designed in order to give the chance to experience the images in their original size (5x4 contact prints) compared to bigger reproductions. I love the choice of making unique covers, that is a clear link to the unicity of each of Sells' pictures.

Observers can be a bit disoriented by the kaleidoscopical perception of the artist, but still find some figurative elements that can keep us bonded to a sort of sentimental territorial investigation. I don’t think that Sells' plates are just pure artistic practice in terms of intervention on the original picture. She definitely looks at the environment with a classical formalism, and then later in the dark room she deconstruct it, giving to the images a new way to exist.

The layering of image, colour, and texture in her images creates a dreamy effect, transporting the viewer into unknown realms. Sells explores the question of how places are defined, while speculating on the consequences of human experience of place. She says her photographs interpret place as a memory, or as an evocation of a feeling: "I can smell them and I can feel them. Feel the air, feel the light.”

Buy the book here