Penn Chan: Foreign Exchange Winner
Penn Chan is a photographer based out of Portland, Maine. He attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and received a BA from Bard College for creative writing. He currently works as an artist mentor at The Art Department, a non-profit art studio catering to adults with developmental disabilities.
His work ranges from documentary photography to alternative process photography. His documentary work revolves around the subject of self imposed alienation and isolation. His alternative photography work revolves around the tintype process as a participatory installation, specifically as a form of interactive public engagement through free portrait sessions often taking place in the street.
Traps and Flags
The forecast reads -10°F today, but it is much colder on the frozen lakes of Maine where wind chill comes into play and you are standing on solid ice, 8 inches thick, separating you from certain death underfoot. After spending 30 minutes in below zero temperatures, one can experience clumsiness or lack of coordination, general confusion, and finally a lack of concern about one’s condition; the initial symptoms of hypothermia. Despite these dangers there are whole communities who spend their winters solely on the ice. Seemingly unaffected by the cold, these individuals spend hours exploring the landscape on snowmobile and sleeping in ice huts, beckoned by the temporary tundra in their backyards. Where many others try to avoid the harshness of the winter this community thrives in it, exploring the wild that, to them, is no longer Maine, but a different world entirely.
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