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Chris Akin  (Houston, TX), Polka Dots, New York City, 2010.                                            From the series New York

Chris Akin
Houston, Texas


In May of 2009, I traveled with my friend Mari to California to see the Robert Frank show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  During our travels through northern California, we visited Mari’s friend Josine who lives in Oregon, and I photographed a book on her bookshelf.  It was Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  The picture later suggested a title for the series of photographs I was preparing from the trip.  The meaning of the title of Albee’s book is, in his words, “whose afraid of living life without false illusions.”  I decided to borrow the title and and it’s meaning, and insert California as a substitute, to suggest the difficult realities the state is facing.

Since 2005, I have been traveling to Brooklyn, New York once a year to housesit for my friend Marc and his wife Marie to take care of their pets when they are away on vacation.   One of the first visits was when Marc traveled to China to oversee the printing of the catalog for the Friedlander retrospective at MoMA.  It’s kind of nice to think that I helped out on that project!  But when I am there, I try to shoot as much film of the city as possible.  I get up early, feed the pets, walk the dog,  and then spend the day visiting different places and taking pictures along the way.  When I return to Houston, I usually spend an entire month just scanning the images.  Then I make a selection of the images and, using, I create a book of the images.  The images on view are from my most recent visit to New York this past October.



I started taking pictures when I was about fourteen years old with my dad’s camera and lenses, and was really interested in getting a zoom lens!  I made pictures of butterflies, and frogs, and grass.  Most of my energies in my early years were invested in sports, and it was only in college that my interest in art began to rival my interest in playing tennis.  I went to Odessa College and enjoyed the photography courses, and continued playing tennis and studying photography through to graduation from the University of North Texas.  After college I devoted my attention to drawing and painting, and eventually began to make photographs again, quite unexpectedly.  I bought a catalog of William Eggleston’s photographs.  The pictures looked familiar to me.  A little later, I found The Democratic Forest, and I was off and running to create my own photographs.