About Adrian Chitty
Artist in Residence 2019 - 2021
Adrian Chitty is a photographer living in Yamhill County, Oregon.
His work celebrates craftspeople and artisans, people who work with their hands and lovingly touch every product they make. He chronicles their skill, craft, and passion in an overwhelmingly industrialized and automated world.
Adrian came to photography after nearly two decades in software engineering. Stepping away from that career to become a stay-at-home father afforded him more time to explore his own creative urges and after stints learning metalwork, woodwork and ceramics he came upon the idea of marrying his long-standing love of photography with his rapidly increasing appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship of the people he met in these fields.
After a series of one-day photoshoots, Adrian realized that he wanted to go deeper. Deeper into an individual craft, and longer in time spent absorbing it. The idea of spending a year with a winery was born.
I originally came to this project with the idea of creating a series of environmental portraits of the people who make the wine on your table. I wanted to showcase the craftsmanship that occurs over the course of a full year in the life of a winery, and to capture the grittiness and the physical work involved. I wanted to celebrate the people that make the magic happen behind the scenes.
I had assumed that I had left my twenty-year software engineering career behind me, and was now embracing the life of a creative. However, as this photography project progressed, I frequently sought out scenes that had stronger “left-brain” elements: patterns, symmetry, reflection, repetition, precision, and geometry.
In my previous career I used to find beauty in elegant analytical and mathematical solutions to complex problems, in precisely formatted source code, and in patterns in large datasets. I now see strong overlaps in what appeals to me aesthetically in different fields. Perhaps these worlds might not be so far apart after all?
This exhibition represents multiple “Transformations”, with the most obvious being the transformation from grape to wine. As this is my first public photography exhibition, it also represents my personal transformation from software engineer to photographer.
A transformation necessarily retains parts of the original. We are not replacing, we are taking what was there before and shaping it to a new purpose. Wine is a transformation of the grape, retaining elements as diverse as soil, aspect, and climate. Similarly, over the course of this residency, I have come to incorporate many aspects of my previous experience into my photography.
As you view these pictures, I invite you to consider transformations in your own world, and to recognize and honor what those transformations contain that has gone before.