Urban Abstractions: Meet Photographer & Architect Alan Chimacoff

Written by Artie The Panda

One look at Alan Chimacoff’s photographs and it’s obvious that his architecture career shapes his work. Fascinated by everyday urban landscapes, this Princeton, New Jersey, photographer explores the real and illusory space of the manmade world — revealing humanity’s presence despite the absence of people in his photography. 

Geometric Cohesion

As Alan captures city life through buildings, objects, manufacturing, and urban neglect, one great unifier ties his body of work together: geometric structure. For example, in “Facade Floated” shown above, a sunlit south-facing glass building is reflected in the opposite north-facing glass building. In “Ceiling” below, light plays tricks while solids and voids reverse. The depths of raw steel and the artifacts of weather exposure are revealed in “Steel 9,” also below. Each photograph showcases repeated lines and shapes, creating what Alan would call an "abstracted reality."

"I am interested in the uninteresting and seek the unusual in the ordinary, finding the world around me a visual fascination," Alan says.

The Frame and the Pouch

Alan’s current frame of choice is our Nielsen Metal Frame Profile 117 in bright white. He framed “Ceiling” in this particular frame for an exhibition at Soho Photo Gallery in New York City. “Everything I have ever purchased from Frame Destination comes hermetically sealed, with almost never a speck of dust,” Alan says. He’s also a fan of the GalleryPouch™, our heavy-duty, reusable art protector: “I have re-packed a show in an hour that would have taken a day, thanks to this amazing invention!”

"Ceiling" framed in Nielsen Profile 117
“Ceiling,” framed in our slender metal Nielsen Profile 117.
"Steel 9" imprints from manufacturing process
“Steel 9” reveals imprints from the manufacturing process.

See More of Alan’s Work

Explore the galleries of Alan’s website, chimacoff.com, to view an artistic contrast of New York and LA (in his Bi-Coastal gallery), the softer side of “hard-hearted” steel (Steel Evocations), and the visual intrigue of fleeting moments (Ephemera). To discover the tools he cherishes the most and what stops him from buying fad gadgets, read my Q&A with Alan below. 

Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Alan Chimacoff…

1. What is your background; how did you get started?

At 8 years old, I was fascinated by pictures and cameras. I started a photography club with two friends in fifth grade.

2. How important is it for a photographer to "connect" with their subject?

It varies with the subject, but it is essential that the photographer bring the subject into intense "focus" to reveal it.

3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice you’ve received within your career?

A genius friend in our little photography club helped me understand that there is meaning in pictures beyond what is depicted!

4. In what ways does your work reflect your personality?

I am essentially about visual things — finding the unusual in the usual and normative, the anomalies in the obvious — and I believe my pictures reflect that. 

5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?

Yes, I get them. The only ways I have discovered to overcome them is to work, work, work my way through the block and to look for unfamiliar subjects to photograph.

6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)

My eyeballs. And Photoshop Elements!

7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?

The goal of depicting space continues to consume me — the actual space between things, and the imaginary space that exists “phenomenally” in two-dimensional images.

8. What "fad" gadget do you most regret purchasing?

I am inherently a cheapskate. So, lucky me, I don't buy fad gadgets. I’ve certainly made some stupid purchases, but they weren't fad gadgets. Some were expensive, and I hope I learned lessons from the stupidity.

Alan Chimacoff

All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.

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Last Updated January 15, 2024