Chloe Sells divides her time between Botswana, Africa, where she photographs with a large format camera, and London, England, where she processes and prints her own work. Each of her prints is unique as a result of her in-depth manipulation of the printing process in the darkroom. This process, which is both spontaneous and deliberate, produces works that are irregular in more sense than one. Sells describes this series, entitled French Kissing, as imbued with a feeling of romance and travel. There is movement in each image, creating a sense of passage through an exotic landscape. The layering of image, color, and texture in the chromogenic prints creates a dreamy effect, transporting the viewer into unknown realms. Each image is made in the darkroom with experimental methods: screens, overlays, open-weave fabrics and movements of the paper are expertly combined to create her bold and dreamy images.
Her printing process brings a whole new perspective to the landscapes which she photographs. Since her childhood in the mountains of Colorado and her extensive travels in adulthood, she has revered the sublime beauty of nature. We can see it translated to the viewer as she imbues a colorful and emotional interpretation of each environment. 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.” Her works are undeniably painterly and immediate. Her dedication to traditional analogue process reminds us that even the most traditional of methods can push the boundary of the photographic medium.
Sells attended the Rhode Island School of Design, from which she graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. She received her Masters in Fine Art from Central St. Martins in September, 2011. Over the last 12 years she has lived and photographed on three continents, Asia, North America and Africa, which has been integral to her artwork. Chloe uses a Contax 645 and Linhof 4x5 to create her pictures. Each of Sells’ works is a unique analogue C-type print, made by hand in the darkroom.