Exchange Edit: Caleb Charland by Alexander Harding

Exchange edit is a series in which two photographers select images from the various bodies of work of the other photographer and then sequence them to form a new edit. This idea comes from the photographers Kevin Thrasher and Susan Worsham. They outline some of their ideas behind the series and how they came to the idea in the introduction to Thrasher's edit of Worsham found here, and Worsham's edit of Thrasher found here. 

The series recently included an exchange between Shane Lavalette and Gregory Halpern. Today we continue with the first part of an exchange between Caleb Charland and Alexander Harding. Today's images are from various bodies of work by Charland, edited and sequenced by Harding.

Harding was born in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his BFA in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2002. In 2003 he completed an additional year as a special student in Photography. In 2011 Harding received his MFA in Photography from MassArt. Using Photography and other media, Harding’s work explores our physical and emotional connections to sunlight.

He has been in numerous exhibitions including Photographic Resource Center’s 15th Annual Exhibition, as well as the 2010 and 2011 Boston Young Contemporaries Exhibitions. This past fall, the first survey of his work, was shown at Panopticon Gallery in Boston, MA.

Since 2007, Harding has been an Adjunct Professor in fine arts at the Boston Architectural College. He lives and works in Wallingford, Connecticut

Charland received his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2004 and an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. His work is included in numerous collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Portland Art Museum. He has shown his work in exhibitions internationally.

A text from Harding with thoughts on the general process and the specific edit follows the images.


I always do this when I go to exhibitions. I see a description of the work and then look at the work itself. I can't stop myself, even though I know that I don't always agree with these descriptions. I like to make up my own mind. Art doesn't always transmit its intended meaning. Artists put a lot of effort into this when they make their work, but the intended meaning is often lost or hazy. When we see work, we bring a lot to the table, our past experiences, own ideas about art, and our visual acuity. Each viewer brings a different combination of these things to the viewing of images. For me, that's the best thing about art. You can have your own, unique experience and understanding of work, and it can be different from someone else's. This can be hard for me in museums, because I don't always agree with curators and I'm not allowed to rearrange the work.

This exercise appealed to me because I'm allowed to do this in more of a hands on way than usually allowed.

When I look at Caleb Charland's work, I think of a lot of things that I'm sure he intended: Scientific Experiments, Physics, and The Universe, both great and small. When I think of these things without looking at Caleb's work, specific, scientific imagery comes to mind: The Hubble Space Telescope, Nikola Tesla, Fractals, and Microscopic pictures. To me, these scientific pictures, although are often highly abstract, always have a peculiar and familiar quality. When looking at these images, I often start to think of how visually abstract nature itself is.

The pictures of Caleb's I've chosen posses this mysterious and familiar quality. We might not be able to say how they're made, but we know them.