Dominic Chavez, U-turn

Dominic Chavez is a freelance photographer based in Boston, Massachusetts, but he has spent much of his career on the road working in some of the world’s most challenging places. Chavez has recorded the effects of war in Colombia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Angola; the AIDS crisis in more than a dozen countries in Africa; and the battle to eradicate polio in countries in Africa and Asia. In addition, he has covered stories locally and nationally, focusing on the aftermath of 9/11; homeless populations; and those addicted to drugs.

Chavez’s series, U-TURN, is his newest body of work focused on the landscape and is featured in the Main Gallery at the Griffin Museum April 10 through June 8, 2014. An opening reception with the artist is April 10, 7-8:30 p.m.

"I’ve ventured into places too horrible for words, and horrible enough for pictures, such as a lonely forsaken spot along the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea, where tribal cousins fought as is they were in World War I, charging each other on foot, dying by the thousands, bulldozed into piles, and half-buried by dirt," says Dominic Chavez.

"When I was 19, I tried to photograph trees as if they were people. When I examined the frames, I was disappointed,” said Chavez. “As years have passed, it has become trying for me to distance myself from the difficult stories I shoot when I return home to the United States. Almost unconsciously I made a U-turn. I found myself again drawn to places without people," he says. "But this time, when I raised my camera, the scenes came alive. I saw the embrace of trees on Cape Cod, the weeping rocks of an icy cliff in Utah, and the uncertainty on a mountaintop in Maine, where fog obscured the ocean beneath."

"As a photojournalist Chavez unearths a narrative in nature in his series of photographs called U-Turn" says Paula Tognarelli, executive director of the Griffin Museum of Photography."The story he tells is laden with emotion and portrays the strengths and frailties of the landscape."