Artist of the Month: senior Chipper Stotz

The Oracle talks to senior Chipper Stotz about his work as a photographer.

The Oracle: What do you enjoy most about photography?

A photo from Chipper Stotz's bird-themed portfolio of alumnus Luke Mendoza, as a vulture, preying on alumna Neulyn Moss

Chipper Stotz: I like how you can make a live image into a still image. There was a SAT essay prompt a while ago that asked “is a picture a realistic view of the moment you see?” To me, you can make a photograph anything you want to make it seem. You can take any setting and transform it into your idea.

TO: What piece of art are you most proud of?

CS: I am most proud of the work I am currently doing in my photography class. As part of the AP Studio Art portfolio you are required to take 10 pictures that focus on a central theme. For my concentration, I chose to photograph people as birds. For my AP Portfolio, my idea is to use people as birds and so far I’ve got different birds that include the raven, a tucan, a dove, a peacock, a flamingo and a vulture.

TO: What is your favorite part about the whole process?

CS: The final product. It’s definitely a lot of work especially in the dark room if you do film, but once it comes out the way you want it to, it’s a big relief. For my portfolio, it definitely takes all day. It takes time to get the lighting correct and to get the composition you want. And then, if I’m shooting film and anything that requires the darkroom process, it takes a lot longer. This is because you need to shoot it during the day and get the lighting right, and you also have to take  it into class and figure out all the chemicals.

TO: What type of work have you done in the past?

CS: I have completed various projects using different mediums, which include digital, 35 mm film, solar plates, medium format, Photoshop, Lightroom and the Intagalio printing process. For solar plates,basically, I just created a picture of  a tractor that I saw when I was went to Idaho on a family vacation last summer. The Intagalio printing process goes along with the solar plates. You take the solar plates and you put ink on it, and then you have to rub the ink off with different cloths and cottons. Then you take that and put it on a piece of paper and roll it through the press.

TO:  What is your favorite type of photography ?

CS: I like portraits, but not necessarily self-portraits because it is really hard to critique in front of your class. I like close-ups and I don’t really do landscapes.

TO: Are you considering art as a career option for the future?

CS: Although I do not aspire to be a professional photographer in the future, I plan on continuing art in college. I’m planning on majoring in communications/public relations. My experience in AP Photo will help me progress in this field, and advertise the products that I get hired for. In communications/public relations it’s all about knowing how to connect with your audience with words and other forms of expressions such as still-life images. Over the years,  I’ve kind of grown to experience more techniques and learned to work with those basic principles to have photography stand out to an audience.

TO: What was your motivation behind your AP Art Studio project’s concentration?

CS: I was motivated to start my concentration after seeing the work former Gunn student Henry Liu completed for his APStudio Art portfolio. Henry Liu’s concentration last year were birds. However it wasn’t just people as birds or portraits; it was the actual animal. I took the actual physical bird and used it to make portraits of people because I don’t like taking pictures of landscapes.

Photo courtesy of Chipper Stotz

—Compiled by Wayland Fong

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