john chervinsky

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about studio physics


John Chervinsky was born and raised in the city of Niagara Falls, NY. He is a self taught photographer and engineer. He currently works for Harvard University’s Rowland Institute for Science, originally founded by Polaroid’s, Edwin H. Land. His diverse scientific background is evident in his ongoing series of conceptual still-lifes. He has spent 18 years running a particle accelerator at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applies Sciences, and has used accelerator technology in the analysis of art, and collaborated with Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
His photographic work is held in numerous public and private collections. His Experiment in Perspective series has been traveling the country since it first opened at the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2005. He resides in Somerville, MA, with his wife, Kirsten.


Studio Physics:
A Photographic Investigation into the Nature of Time, Light, Space and Gravity
I am fascinated by the concept of time. I can measure it, account for it in an experiment in the lab,
and live my life in it, but I still don’t know what it is, exactly.
We are all aware of the great pioneering time and motion studies done by practitioners such as
Eadweard Muybridge, Harold “Doc” Edgerton and even the experimental work of Bernice Abbott done
during the late 1950s at MIT. That work investigate motion with image capture intervals ranging from
100 nanoseconds (the time of the pulse of a fast strobe) to the several seconds it takes for a horse to
trot in front of a reference grid. In fact, most contemporary photographers work somewhere within that
range. What would happen then, if we decided to work outside of that range? What would happen if
we picked an image capture interval of not seconds, but weeks?
This conceptual work in progress, will investigate the physical phenomena of still and moving objects
in space over time.

My process is as follows:
1) Compose and photograph a still life.
2) Crop a subset of the image and send it to a painting factory in China.
3) Wait for an anonymous artist in China to complete an actual oil painting of the cropped section,
and send it to me in the mail.
4) Reinsert the painting into the original setup and re-photograph.

As with previous work, I’m interested in issues relating to perspective. I’m interested in the tensions
expressed in the comparison between reality vs. representation. I’m interested what happens when I
collaborate with another artist that has no idea that they are involved in a collaboration, and I’m
interested in seeing and expressing subtle changes over time that we might otherwise take for