“Close your eyes. Breathe in. Exhale. Look at me.”
"She gave visual amplification to innovative black storytelling.”
“She had a particular way of working with her subjects, especially with us, people of color. It was nurturing and empowering. People trusted her and loved the way she made them look and feel.”
“She helped us see ourselves in the act of claiming ourselves.”
“She invited her subjects to lean into their discomfort, and they would find it to be a loving space.”
"Christine Jean Chambers showed Black people the immense beauty we possessed within and without, in her words and her photographs."
Christine Jean Chambers started taking photos when she was 10-years-old. She was quite impressed with herself until her grandmother’s best friend who was a photographer sat her down and told her that her photos were, ” not so good.” She said, “there’s too much space on the top. It MEANS nothing!” But Christine was 10 so she didn’t understand why that didn’t earn her any bonus points. Oh well.
She kept shooting, but began to work in multiple mediums; painting, acting, and writing. When she moved to New York City to study playwriting at Columbia University in 2004 she decided she would also invest in a new camera so she could capture her new environment twofold.
As a portrait/headshot photographer her process is slightly unconventional. During the beginning of a shoot her primary focus is to help her subject get to a place where they lose the need to pose. By using acting exercises and telling/ exchanging stories with her subjects her photography sessions are more like open conversations than staged moments. Feeling like yourself in front of a camera is not easy, and Christine understands this because she hates having her photo taken!
In honor of the photography work that Christine Jean Chambers blessed our community with over the last decade, an exhibit in her honor will be on display at The Public Theater during Black History Month and Women’s History Month.
Please Join us on Thursday, February 20, 2020 from 6:30 – 8pm 6:30-8pm on 1M at The Public Theater, located at 425 Lafayette Street (at Astor Place), New York, NY, for a reception to celebrate this sampling of work and celebrate this visionary artist.