Chris Bashaw: Wallflower with a Camera

Chris Bashaw: Wallflower with a Camera


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The ASI Art Program has been displaying “Life & Light, Ships that Pass in the Night” a series of street photos shot around the Los Angeles area by Chris Bashaw, a CPP alumnus.

After his artist talk on Tuesday, I had the opportunity to speak with him about his photography.

Bashaw said that he likes to capture “fleeting life.” This idea of street photography has been around for 70 years and he feels the need to do something a little different, especially because it is becoming popular again.

Why did you decide to share your art? Why now?
I really just wanted to share what I’ve done. I’ve been doing this for three years now. It’s not a long amount of time, but it’s enough to show what I’ve learned.
I started here at Cal Poly [Pomona] after learning some things from Professor Turner and Professor Rowe–two individuals whose passion for the craft rubbed off on me.

What do you hope people get out of looking at your photographs?

What I hope it communicates is an aspect of myself that somebody else saw of me. One of the best compliments I’ve ever been given [is when my coworker told me] ‘It’s like your mind doesn’t turn off or something’ [after telling her about his photography experience with shadows at night] I kind of see myself as a wallflower with a camera.

How do you pick your subjects?

I like to take the candid approach. I let people do their natural thing and I just capture the moment. I value the beauty in the mundane. When you think of world-renowned photographers and their work, there’s usually an element of life–human life illuminated by light.

Do you have a certain approach or technique when it comes to taking a picture?
I never ask for permission, that’s the best way to ruin a moment. I don’t create the moment. I just capture them as they happen. I don’t use strobe or flash. For me, it’s all about looking for the life and light and the moment where they intersect. It’s a good exercise to look for light and see how it behaves.

What’s your favorite picture out of the whole set?
The picture of the couple in Pasadena holding hands. It really speaks for itself. I never have to explain what it’s about. You see it in the shot. [Holding hands] is one of those things that is universal, you don’t have to explain it, yet it is still interesting. Plus the photo has great lighting.

You can see Chris Bashaw’s photographs on display in the Bronco Student Center by the Ursa Major Rotunda until Nov. 22.

For more information about the ASI Art Program, visit: asi.csupomona.edu/gallery.