GRAHAM — Chad Perry has covered women in metallic paint, lights, lace and flour.
The 44-year-old Graham photographer worked more than 250 locations from 2012 to 2017, but his passion wasn’t always being behind the lens of a camera.
“The original thing was music,” he said. “I was 15, I was playing guitar, and I was also kind of taking weird pictures then, but I did take music classes at UNC-G, … and it was music up until 2005 or 2006, when work kind of took over.
“I was working, I don’t know, 12 to 15 hours a day, six days a week, and I was kind of all over the place, so I wasn’t able to record music like I wanted to. So when I was able to get out of that lifestyle, the thing that came back and the way the creativity came out was photography.”
While Perry photographs weddings and other events, his own work is a little more abstract.
“A lot of people would say it’s weird stuff,” he joked. “It definitely falls within the fine art realm. I do, most often, photograph women, and I like to think I do it not in ways that other people do it. A couple of months ago I made a dress out of clear florescent bulb covers and red tape and zip ties, so it’s just different things.”
He recently finished a show at the 512 Collective Art Gallery in High Point titled “The Kaleidoscopic Flimflammery Colorshow of Tomfoolery and Shenanigans,” for which he worked with the same six metallic paints for all 51 photos using Maggie Story as his model.
Editing, Perry says, took hours for each photo, but he’s willing to go above and beyond for originality and vision.
“If it starts to look like everybody else’s stuff, I start over,” Perry said.
As his day job, Perry has worked as a full-time postal employee for 24 years, and he says doing the “creative thing after a 40-hour work week is a challenge.”
But he finds simple ways of bringing art into his life, like using the branches of trimmed trees to build another tree in the corner of his living room.
Throughout his career, Perry’s been inspired by people like world-renowned wedding photographer Jerry Ghionis, whom he recalls teaching a 12-hour course and concluding it by saying, “So you want to be a better photographer? Be a better person.”
“You are exposing yourself as much on this end of the [camera] just as much as the person on the other side,” Perry explained.
The result of that work is a photo that Perry likes to leave open-ended, allowing the viewers to tell him what they think it means.
“I don’t tell anyone, really, what to make of my photography. The result of that is that I get thousands of stories of what each individual piece means to certain people,” he said.
Reporter Jessica Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 336-506-3046. Follow her on Twitter at @jessicawtn.