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tom chambers – improbable dreams

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Tom Chambers

Improbable Dreams

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Through photo montage I present unspoken stories which illustrate fleeting moments in time and which are intended to evoke a mood in the viewer. These mythical illustrations might address the fragility of childhood or the delicate transition experienced by a child passing into adolescence and then adulthood. Others express the tension in the uncertain coexistence between man and his environment, a delicate balance too often ignored and damaged. Each photo montage is carefully constructed, using both images that have been planned and those that unexpectedly enhance the story. With digital photography I desire to move beyond documentation of the present, and rather seek to fuse reality and fantasy in musing about possibilities of the future.

To create a photo montage I photograph each piece of the final image using a Nikon digital camera or a medium format film camera. The processed film is scanned at a high resolution, approximately 80 megabytes per frame. Then, I use Photoshop software with a Macintosh computer to combine the pieces, thus creating the final image. Lastly, this final image is printed with archival pigment inks on cotton rag paper.



Tom Chambers was raised in the Amish country of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Following life altering experiences of military service during the Vietnam War and travel throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada, Tom completed a B.F.A. in 1985 from Ringling School of Art with an emphasis in graphic design and photography. Since 1998 Tom has devoted himself to photo montage for sharing intriguing unspoken stories about spirituality, personal identity, and co-existence.

Currently, Tom is represented by seven galleries in the United States and Spain. His work has been shown nationally and internationally in Spain and Colombia, as well as in a wide range of print and online publications. Tom has received recognition for his photo montages through a variety of awards, as well as fellowships from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.


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Tom Chambers


Editor’s Note: Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

tom chambers – prom



Prom Gown #3 by Tom Chambers


BURN will soon be featuring an essay by this artist. For this series, Mr. Chambers was influenced by Mexican religious art.

Joel Karppanen – Finnish Pastoral

Joel Karppanen

Finnish Pastoral



Georg Simmel wrote about the relieving power of the ruins. According to him the ruins help us to appreciate everything “incomplete, shapeless and what shatter the frames”.

Finnish Pastoral is a photo series that offers its viewers new means to indeed shatter the set up models we have for perceiving our surroundings. It is a story of the village of Karinkanta, in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia, with a population of just under 200 people: a ruin yet to come. It gives an honest look beyond romantic nationalism, into Finnish countryside and the changes it is facing in the 2010’s postindustrial era when not only the reformation of livelihood, urban-rural fusion and migration, but also disparity, externality and echo chambers keep the countryside in a constant tension.



Almost every Finn, including me, has their roots on the countryside so we tend to have a pretty black and white mental image on reality. I have followed the daily life in the village for over two years in order to redefine my relationship with countryside. Therefore the series is also a study about the modern humans yearn for the rural life.



In Karinkanta nothing but everything happens and my democratic camera captures that all timeless stagnation. The in-depth personal series consist of understated portraits, landscapes, frozen moments and details made on medium format camera.

Without any nostalgia Finnish Pastoral paints a portrait of the bygone Finnish Dream.


Short Bio

Joel Karppanen (b. 1993) is a self-taught Finnish artist whose photographs and videos, conversing on topics around human environment, common people and the urban-rural dichotomy, stem from the tradition of social realism. He is strongly influenced by literature and cinema. When working, he strives to find magic in moments most would describe as ordinary. In 2017 Karppanen received Young Hero / Jouko Lehtola Foundation Award for a Young Documentary Photographer. His works can be found in various public and private collections. Karppanen lives and works in Northern Finland.


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The Emerging Photographer Fund is supported by generous donors to the Magnum Foundation

Magnum Foundation