Project history Review Sean Adair Bio
The making of
The images are produced solely with an in-camera optical technique. No computer or darkroom manipulation was used for any of the pictures. You see what I saw, the arrangement of image and subject in a visual expression of emotion and relation to surroundings. The interaction of nature and nurture illuminated.

This personal artwork project began in 1993, with a clear concept of using this long known technique of projecting an image on a model with specific stylistic intents (such as the black background) and a conceptual direction; the illusion of the projected surface as being on or part of the body. To date, the portfolio of edited work is well over 200 images.

For many years of travel and journalistic photography, I was attracted to take simple images of texture, surface and form. Some of these images are of microscopic detail and they range to large expanses of sky or landscape. The library of images found a purpose when a girlfriend was interested in participating in the project, which had germinated years before when guests stood in the light of a slide show.

The technical process was a challenge, but not outside the reach of any serious photographer. Choices of special film, projector mounting, exposures and choosing to shoot more spontaneously without a tripod were developed over a few sessions. The collection of source textures has continued to develop as well, with many source images specifically shot for an intended Chameleon People shot. Some source images are from natural sources; like bark, water, clouds, plants, others from man-made sources - metal, fences, peeling paint, paper. Objects like a guitar and abstract artwork by the photographer have also been sources.

I have had sessions of great creativity inspired by working in close association with the models. None of them are professionals, instead I have worked with friends who have expressed an interest in participating. Some images are preconceived, others are an improvisation of image and pose, often with a mirror in the studio allowing the model to see the effect achieved and contribute to the process. A pose or expression of theirs may summon a particular source texture in my mind, or a model may find and place themselves in the form of an image I have projected. There may be some specific things I want to do in a session, but usually there is more improvisation and these are just as likely to succeed. In a few hours, I may shoot 2 or 3 rolls of 36 pictures, only occasionally duplicating an image.

Project history:
The Chameleon People have been shown in a solo show at Spectra Gallery in 1995, in a live projected outdoor performance with live music (led by one of the models) in 1997, and in a large group art show as part of the Theater for the New City's Lower East Side Art Festival in 2001. A short experimental DV film, "The Wizard's Mistress" was made in collaboration with the playwright Armand Ruhlman uses the same techniques and conceptual basis which has been submitted to underground film festivals and will be available for limited scrrenings in NYC. Three online galleries display his work, which has attracted an underground following, despite limited exposure in the NYC art scene.

From John Fischer's art gallery website, which also maintains a portfolio of these images in the "Guest Artists" section.
"Using a natural media technique to produce these astounding images directly in the film camera with no post-production manipulation, Adair has found a surreal and bizarre world of characters that many viewers at first look assume are digital modifications. The personality of these images becomes more apparent as one looks closer. The colors and textures wrap around the figures, blend into the shadows, and interact with their subjects; giving them special powers or immeasurable agonies."

Sean Adair Bio:
Sean started shooting with an SLR and multiple lenses at 14 years old, while travelling through 23 countries with his parents. Currently a freelancer and director of a small production company, who shoots and edits pro film and video, he also works extensively with digital manipulation in still and motion graphics; services all available from His photographs have been published in newspapers, books, and magazines around the world. With a background in travel stock photography and as an event photographer, his technical sophistication and eye for innovation have led to a body of truly unique photographic artwork.

©2002 Adair Productions