10 minutes with Christopher Churchill

Interviews with Photographers March 14, 2011 11:26 am

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

I was about 17 and had been kicked out of a private school.  I ended up at an alternative school on a farm that you could go to full time, part time or independently.  I chose independently and drove cross-country.  I took a bunch of pictures along the way and when I came back I needed to write a class to graduate.  The photography teacher was really cute and I had a bunch of negatives and that was that.

Christopher Churchill - Augusta Mental Health Institute

Christopher Churchill - Augusta Mental Health Institute

Christopher Churchill - Augusta Mental Health Institute

You seem to always have at least one project going on, editorial assignments and an expanding family. How do you find the balance in it all?

I’ve learned that for me, and therefore those around me, to be happy I need to be making photographs.  My wife is really accepting of this other part of my life and by the nature of assignments work it allows me a flexible schedule.  If you are doing what you love and are happy, it all fits together in a rather simple way.

Christopher Churchill

Christopher Churchill

Christopher Churchill

One of your amazing projects, American Faith, has been getting a lot of attention and I know a book is in the works. How did you get started on the project, when did you know it should be a book and how did you find your subjects?

I started this project just out of curiosity about religion. I felt both frustrated and alienated with the culture around the topic in 2004. Both on the left and on the right there was so much dogma that was really fueling some serious bigotry and ignorance. I wanted to find some fundamental commonality. After about seven years I’ve understood this to be faith. What’s amazing is how entangled the word has become with religion and that it took me that long and that many miles to separate the two.

I had always intended the work to be a book from the very beginning. The idea of a monograph, a truly in-depth look at one topic though ones chosen medium in a seminal mark in any artists career.

The people and places I encountered came while randomly driving through the country. I would see a mariachi band in a van on the highway and follow it. If I felt like I should knock on some ones door in some neighborhood I would. The whole process was all very guttural and all based on sequences of events that informed each other. It was truly a privilege to be able to work this way and truly humbling as any given image solely relies on the generosity and trust of complete strangers.

Christopher Churchill - American Faith

Christopher Churchill - American Faith

Christopher Churchill - American Faith

Christopher Churchill - American Faith

Any words of wisdom for the up and coming photographers?

I would challenge the younger generation to make work with some meaning, work that is hyper authentic, raw and imaginative.  Use the camera as a way to wander through whatever world you feel drawn to and do it with integrity, conviction and total disregard for money.  Make it pure and the other things will happen.


Any goals for 2011, professional or otherwise?

I am in that limbo of not having a project to work on so really doing some soul searching and figuring out what would hold my interest for the next 3- 5 years is a priority.  Other then that find a gallery, build a studio, land some great commissions, take a vacation and do my best to be a good dad.

Christopher Churchill

Christopher Churchill

Christopher Churchill

Christopher Churchill

See more of Chris’s work, here.

6 Comments

  • In producing this work Boston-based photographer Christopher Churchill traveled throughout the country without any specific route. His reliance on unrelated events was his guide to different destinations and encounters, placing his own faith in this process.

  • Great work, but then again what is to be expected of a photographer called Chris Churchill..

    Signed, AN Other Chris Churchill, photographer!

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