Jesse Chehak’s ongoing series, Fools Gold, recalls the reverence for nature held by the earliest members of the Western Survey photography movement from over a century ago. Chehak, much like his predecessors, regards the opportunism of the west with an acute sanguinity, citing the region’s bountiful splendor as evidence of its still-unspoiled terrain. Equally, Chehak’s purist approach to the medium speaks to his 19th century counterparts - using only a map and field camera as tools for navigating the terrain. Taking aesthetic cues from the German Romanticist movement, Chehak searches the region for breathtaking vistas to illustrate his veneration for the environment. Picturesque beauty abounds in the images while lonesome realities counter verdant fields beneath blue skies, mountains bathed in golden dusks, bison roaming the forest’s edge. Each serves as a perceptive reminder of the humbling admiration we experience when confronted with natural resplendence against terrible odds.
Jesse Chehak’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad. He received a 2007 Magenta Emerging Photographer Award, as well as being featured in the 2005 Twenty Breakthrough Talents sponsored by Print Magazine, and the 2005 30 Under 30 sponsored by Photo District News. The artist currently lives and works in Tucson as an MFA candidate at the University of Arizona.