There are a few things you would never guess about New Canaan photographer Chip Mahoney. His love for photography is self-evident; he can talk for hours about making his own cameras, famous photographers he admires, and the various technical details of each camera he made himself. And is talent is also clear -- his photography is currently on display at restaurant Carpe Diem. What you might not guess is that Chip Mahoney is fourteen years old. Most fourteen year olds’ jobs involve standing behind a counter or sweeping floors, but Chip Mahoney has already decided that he wants art to be an important part of his life.
Although Chip has been only been taking photos for three years, he has immersed himself in learning about the art. He began learning from an instruction manual for U.S. Naval photographers. The book stressed a regimented, “measure twice, cut once” approach to photography basics. After completing each step in the manual, Chip struck out to create his own, unique brand of artwork. His inspirations run from famous American photographers, such Adams and Rose, but he also loves breaking with traditional photographic forms and employs alternative methods, such as photograms to pin-hole photography. Chip describes his current work as a combination of the “black and white contrast of Ansel Adams, put together with Michael Wesely’s open shutter style, Aaron Rose’s photograms, and Barbara Ess’s pin-hole photography… it’s a mix of everything”.
When Chip Mahoney started taking photographs, he created his own cameras as an alternative to more expensive and predictable DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras. He sought out cheap, throw-away materials, such as soda cans and oatmeal boxes, to create not only unique photographs, but a unique photographic process. Staying true to his DIY aesthetic, Chip develops his on photos in a darkroom he built himself.
Although Chip is excited about Carpe Diem showing his work, he is not nervous. “I feel confident, but not overly confident,” he said. “I always take criticism very well, because it fuels the fire for my work to get better.”