Twosomes | Mark Chester
Touring Exhibit and Companion Book on Un-Gyve Press
Mark Chester's Twosomes touring exhibit and companion book from Un-Gyve Press represents images culled from his forty years of traveling with a camera, presented in pairings related by subject matter, graphic interest or, as the photographer puts it, “a stretch of the imagination.” — a wide-reaching body-of-work that connects architectural icons with sidewalk signage; Japan with Iowa; 1979 with 2002; celebrity with passerby in a manner that reveals, as novelist Paul Theroux describes, “tremendous humanity and humor....In this juxtaposition of matching moods and paraphernalia, Mark Chester shows us in an ingenious way how the world is related and how we matter to each other.”
Twosomes is a compilation of “twosomes and then some.” Some time ago I realized when looking through my files of prints and contacts that my photographs are more than pictures of people, places, and things that touched me in some emotional, intellectual, or whimsical way. Many of them also contain two or more of a given subject – two women, two men, two gloves, etc. I developed the idea of presenting two images next to each other on the exhibition wall – and ultimately on the facing pages of a book. Juxtaposed here, then, are images from forty years of traveling with a camera.
Perhaps Twosomes is a joke book. Maybe you'll smile, or maybe you'll just shake your head muttering what…? We all see something different. For me, finding one image to juxtapose with another was a lot of fun. And fun, like a photograph, is meant to be shared.
Mark Chester, Mark Chester Photography
Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 2010
Published in 2011 by Un-Gyve Press the 218 page hardcover book Twosomes features 202 plates, 101 image pairs representing forty years of photography by Mark Chester. The 11" x 13" hardcover book with dustjacket retails for $75. ISBN: 9780982919804. Designed by Un-Gyve Limited. Introduction by Julia Courtney, Curator of Art for the Springfield Museums, Springfield, Massachusetts.
From fellow photographers Jay Maisel, Ken Heyman, and Oscar®-winning cinematographer Gordon Willis to author and political scientist Norman Ornstein and novelist Paul Theroux the response to Twosomes has been highly varied and invariably of high-praise. Further response to the project, as quoted and excerpted below, and more of Mark Chester Photography Profiled can be viewed in the Mark Chester Photography | Portfolio.
"The work has wit, warmth and perception. You will be drawn into the images. You may be tempted as I was to figure out the ‘chicken or the egg’ question in a particular pair.
Pairing, it is. Each image can stand alone, but with its fraternal twin, the synergistic and symbiotic leap to mind.
The impact of twoness; it was impossible for me not to smile while looking at these images. One can think of the universality of mankind or even loftier associations of mind and intent, but… for me, there is a mischievous glee taking place here.
There’s a lot to chew on here; the work will grow on you. There’s a great deal hidden that will reveal itself upon subsequent viewing.
Finally, this is one of those books that is fun to show people and watch their reactions. I’m looking forward to adding this to my library."
"Mark Chester's photographs not only make you laugh out loud, but think out loud. You respond instantly to his work which provokes an awareness of life beyond our everyday lives. He captures the anticipation and sets us up for what is to come next, as he holds us suspended in the moment he alone saw. He stops the moment for us to enter with our minds, to make us think of his next move. He not only captures the spirit of the moment but shows us his spirit with confidence. Mark Chester sees things with control and firmness; capturing that instant and then moves on."
Michael A. Giaquinto
Exhibitions Curator, Cape Cod Museum of Art
"I've known Mark for more than thirty (40?) years. His maturity has grown with his wit. He has a marvelous sense of humor which he is able to use in capturing life's amusing moments.
It makes you feel good when enjoying Mark's photographs."
"Mark Chester’s Twosomes is a double treat. Individually, his photos are poignant, funny, and marvels of composition. In pairs — like the two elderly women on a park bench, dressed alike and legs crossed just so, matched with the 20-something identical twins in 1920s flapper garb — the photos play off and enhance each other. This is a wonderful collection. Enjoy, enjoy."
Professor, University of San Francisco
"Photographs that simultaneously move you, make you think and make you laugh. How many photographers can do that? The answer is very, very few — and Mark Chester is one of them. Twosomes has wonderful individual pictures taken over many years all over the world. Chester's genius is to make pairs that show universal qualities or nuances that would not hit an average viewer at first glance but do with dual glances side-by-side. I am neither a professional photographer nor an art critic — but you don't have to be one to know something special. Twosomes is that something special."
author, political scientist
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
"Twosomes is an amazing book that could only have been created out of a lifetime of travel and observation by an indefatigable and watchful photographer: In this juxtaposition of matching moods and paraphernalia, Mark Chester shows us in an ingenious way how the world is related and how we matter to each other. I must add he succeeds in this with tremendous humanity and humor."
novelist, travel writer
"The relationship of these photos to one another is at times very amusing and quite entertaining, but I must say that all of the photographs, singularly, in themselves, are a very accomplished collection of visual expertise."
"Twosomes is a playful, observant collection of thoughtfully paired black-and-white images .... it could probably charm even this season’s most deeply begrudged .... The sense that those who helped create this book really had you, the viewer, personally in mind is a real treat and a welcome counterbalance to today’s particularly challenging times." Full PDF >>
"Photographer Mark Chester's sharp eye and mischievous sense of humor are the inspired pairing behind his new book, Twosomes (Un-Gyve). The unexpected juxtaposition of two images from different times and places produces a funny synergy...." Full PDF >>
Un-Gyve Press is an independent imprint of The Un-Gyve Limited Group publishing books of art, epicure, literature, history, photography, industry, and miscellany. Christopher Ricks is the Literary Advisor to Un-Gyve.