For over thirty years Tom Chambers has explored the medium of photography to create photomontages inspired largely from his travels in the American West, New England, Mexico, and Europe. Photomontage is Tom’s unique way of presenting unspoken stories to illustrate fleeting moments in time and is intended to evoke a mood in the viewer. The feelings range from tranquility to turbulence. Through the intentional use of magic realism, the dreamlike photomontages look believable, but improbable. Each photomontage is carefully constructed, using both images that have been planned and those that unexpectedly enhance the story.
Tom is a master photographer, both technically and artistically, but it is his imagination that sets him apart. Heavily influenced by his grandparents’ paintings and mentorship, and both authors and artists employing magic realism, Tom sets the stage for his compositions. These photomontages are at once beautiful, sometimes slyly witty or even disturbing, but always inviting viewers to step into Chambers’ world and make their own interpretations of his works.
An underlying theme of Tom’s work is concern for the fragility of the environment. He believes that humankind’s irresponsibility is the primary cause of the degradation of the planet through climate change, air and water pollution, and over-population. All these factors contribute to, among other things, major changes in animal behaviors. He imagines such changes in many of his works as he also celebrates the biodiversity of the natural world and the kindred connection shared by humans and animals. Tom describes his work as moving beyond documentation of the present to the fusing of reality and fantasy in musing about the future.
Tom completed a B.F.A. from The Ringling College of Art, Sarasota, Florida and has exhibited images from ten series both nationally and internationally. In 2018 Unicorn Publications, London, released Hearts and Bones a retrospective book of Tom’s work. Tom has received fellowships from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.