Surfaces and Strategies Week 9 Reflecting on my work so far / by Chris Chucas

Week 9

After having tutorials with lecturing staff I’ve thought about my practice and the direction that I could potentially head towards.

I think I could summarise my work into three approaches.

1.     Careful traditional reportage style image making.

This method involves me making contact with people within the scene, carefully explaining my intentions and what I intend to do. I explain that I want to document the scene as a member of it and to continue on from where others have left of. My concern is in portraying the people within the community in a sensitive way. I pay close attention to body language and how people react to what’s going on. I often put the camera down and concentrate on building a good rapport with people before taking any images. Then after building these good relationships with people I continue to work with them documenting everything as I go along. I often find the longer I work with people the better the images are and the more they say about the community.

©Chris Chucas-CRJ 4223  May 06, 2017 Falmouth University Ma Documentary Photography.jpg



2.     Self Portraits

Not as big or as separate an approach to the first approach but more of an extra element to it.  Taking inspiration from artist’s like Nan Goldin, I put myself into the work. I feel that by putting myself into the work it’s symbolic of a more democratic approach and shares the perceived power of the image maker amongst everyone. I find that it’s helpful, in that it shows people that I’m more of an equal and not above them. I’m offering myself up to be in an image, just as I expect the people I shoot to be in mine.


I like the way that Larry Clark and Nan Goldin include them selves in their work. For me as a practitioner I feel that adding this autobiographic element both suits the work and adds to it. I am constantly trying to make a power neutral relationship between me and the subjects in the work.

©Chris Chucas-CRJ 9305  August 19, 2017 Falmouth University Ma Documentary Photography.jpg



Re-contextualising work from the community

I have been working with bands and asking them for lyrics to be used in the project. I take them, print them on laser jet paper and place them into the environment. I came about the idea from a previous collaboration with a fellow student Justin Carey.  We both shoot work a lot at night time and share similar ideas about solitude and loneliness, and how it’s possible to be lonely whilst being around people and how being aloneis different. I spend a lot of time working at night, a lot of time running at night also. I would always listen to music on these night runs and think about my mortality and the fragility of life , a lot of depressing themes. I realised that a lot of people in the punk rock community deal with similar topics and a lot of them manifest into lyrics and songs. Bringing it back to this feeling of isolation at times and other times feeling connected to others talking about the same topics is fascinating to me. I could feel terrible and down about things but listen to someone else with the same thoughts on it and it would make me feel better. I wanted to explore this interconnectivity that music and especially punk rock music has with me and the people I know.

I have been talking to lecturers about the progress of my work and it’s made me think about what it is I’m trying to do. I think I’ll continue to approach it with multiple methods but I do feel that the re-contextualising lyrics is the weakest and may soon have run its course.

©Chris Chucas-CRJ 0379  June 28, 2017 Falmouth University Ma Documentary Photography.jpg