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  • by Setareh Sarmadi

CHAD COOMBS: Saskatchewan

Chad Coombs

Chad Coombs is a photographer living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He grew up with a camera always in hand, and he used this ever-present camera to document daily events. In 2001, he watched the documentary Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light, and his photographic life changed forever. He states, “I experienced something I still cannot explain. From that day I have not been able to not think, shoot, or dream up a photo every single day. From that point my work has been hugely inspired by Avedon. I am inspired by Avedon’s response to the statement that his images are offensive to some viewers: ‘That’s the arena of a work of art — it’s to disturb, it’s to make you think, it’s to make you feel.’

Coombs tries to look at the places other people might judge as unworthy of their attention: the “scenery we all take for granted and see each day.” Coombs notes, “It’s always important to try and look at the local scenery in different ways.”

Coombs credits his home province of Saskatchewan for providing both his inspiration and material: “It is an amazing place that always has something to provide. With the land being so flat the skies are always wild, even at night.” And it is at night that Coombs effectively transforms the province’s many abandoned farming structures into bold and stunning monuments. Coombs explores the textures, forms, and architecture that he states are “just itching for some flashlight attention to come out from [their] slumber.” Coombs’ lighting choices give the rural setting a fresh face.

Whether he is reviving an old farmhouse by way of “light painting” or capturing a ghost town by way of prolonged exposure, Coombs photographs the land he inhabits by using his own unique vision — a vision he is excited to develop further. As Coombs enthuses, “Photography has already taken me on a road I could not have ever imagined, and I’m only getting started.”

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