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Chelsea Reeck

11 February 2021

We spoke to professor of photography Chelsea Reeck, who details her incredible series House Hunting and where the inspiration for it came from.

What's your back story?

I have been interested in photography since I was a kid. I almost always had disposable cameras in my back pocket until I received my first 35mm when I was 14. I eventually went to college and received my BFA in photography from MT State, Bozeman. After graduation I moved to MN to start an art gallery in White Bear Lake, and from that I started a wedding photography business. I got my MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2017. I now live in Red Wing with my husband, daughter, and two dogs. I am an adjunct professor of photography, I do wedding photography, and have a prolific fine art practice.

What are your sources of inspiration?

I draw a lot of inspiration from other photographers. Todd Hido is obviously one of my biggest influences. Gregory Crewdson is another photographer that I am obsessed with, Holly Andres, Larry Sultan. I love looking at photographers and how they interpret similar subject matter in their own ways. It helps me continue to evolve my practice both in depth and in aesthetic.

What draws you to shooting in low light?

It's a combination of evoking a mood and enjoying the aesthetic of low light situations. I especially get inspired by bad weather: fog, rain, snow. I can't resist these conditions.

Can you tell us about your House Hunting series?

This series I have been shooting/obsessed with for about 12 years now. It started in college. I moved away from home (MN) to Bozeman MT. My parents had been struggling in their marriage for several years by the time I left. As a last ditch effort to save their relationship they demolished our home (the house my mother grew up in and then I grew up in), building a new monstrously huge house in its place. They divorced before the house was even finished. So that year I left home and when I came back for the summer, my childhood home was gone, and my parents marriage was over.

After that I found comfort in wandering residential streets at night photographing other people's homes. I wanted to portray them in the ominous light, which was aided by the nature of the light and shadows at work after dark. It more honestly represented my new idea of home.

How has your equipment changed over time?

I started photography in film, 35mm cameras, which I used entering college. I then started using medium format and the view camera. A school's 4x5 view camera is what I began the house hunting series with. Film really created a slow methodical approach to shooting. Carrying this heavy camera around, and only having a dozen shots to work with in a night instilled in me the importance of taking your time, and shooting with specific intent, rather than with digital these days, where people (myself included sometimes) taking hundreds of pictures hoping one works. It created a good foundation for my aesthetic approach to framing and formal presence I give to the subject.

I also was introduced to digital in college that provides practical qualities that I lean on today.

Can you take us through your post-processing method?

Minimal, I do my work in camera. I use a tripod when I shoot. I process my photos through Camera Raw. and I will selectively edit some images sometimes, it depends on the shot. If it needs lightening in one area over another, or cropped etc.

How has Covid-19 affected your photography?

I don't feel that COVID has particularly affected my photography, other than perhaps allowing me to shoot even more than I already was here at home. Though I usually travel twice a year to different cities for solo trips to shoot other suburban towns. I have missed doing that over the last year.

Thank you for speaking to us Chelsea. Any final comments?

Thanks so much for the feature! Excited to be a part of your community of artists!

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