Christopher Mcdaniel

Country: United States 🇺🇸

For the past century art photography has aggressively pursued the banal and quotidian as subject matter. We’ve had ennobling pictures of the base of a toilet or a green pepper, to name early examples. But one area of subject matter has been the untouchable electrified third rail for art photographers: natural beauty. Too close to “popular taste,” dangerously close to calendar art, this subject has been off limits, with the limited exceptions of Eliot Porter and a few others whose work was more likely to be published by Audubon or the Sierra Club than Aperture

My work takes on this challenge. Planted firmly in the space of unabashed natural beauty, it establishes a dialectic between accessible, even overwrought beauty and a redemptive, rigorous formalism. I use radical visual strategies to transform otherwise saccharine vistas into something more interesting, even puzzling and unexpected. My willful engagement with what could be crushingly banal subject matter courts disaster in art world terms, but my aim, through use of radical compression of space and alignment of formal pictoral elements, is to snatch material from the jaws of calendar art and breathe new life into content left for dead on the side of the road many decades ago.

McDaniel specializes in metamorphosing the quotidian.