The Coastline of Praia Piquinia: Observing Quiet, Stilled Narratives of Humanity
Photography by: Christian Chaize, Lyons, France
At the Sea-Side
When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up
Till it could come no more.
-Robert Louis Stevenson
The Quiet, Magical Coastline of Praia Piquinia
Praia Piquinia is a beautiful series of images by the photographer Christian Chaize, a self-taught French artist who lives and works in Lyon, France. In 1992, Chaize was awarded the Prix European Panorama de Kodak for Young European Photographer in Arles, France. For the past 20 years, he has had a successful career as a commercial photographer. Five years ago, while vacationing in Portugal, Chaize became engrossed with the landscape and imaginary stories of people on the beach of a small stretch of coastline in southern Portugal.
His fascination with the passage of time at the small beach, capturing the magical changes that took place from year to year, from season to season, breathed a new sense of life and inspiration into his on-going personal work. The images that Chaize captured in his continuing passion to seek out the nuanced changes at Praia Piquinia peeled back layers of how he saw and experienced this magical environment. His own perceptions came to include the call of nature’s voice within the quiet, stilled dramas, and his artistic work at Praia Piquinia began to take increasing precedence over his other professional ambitions. His commitment to this series has thus far garnered Chaize a one-person gallery exhibition in Lyon, and two museum exhibitions in Portugal (in Sines and Lisbon).
Praia Piquinia is a body of work that spans five years and a total of twenty-seven photographs, taken by Chaize who faithfully returned to the same beach in Portugal and took photographs from approximately the same elevated angle to create the images. He recently made his solo debut in New York City, with nine gigantic prints of his gorgeous photographs displayed at The Jen Beckman Gallery. Seven of the photographic portraits from the Jen Beckman exhibition are presented here. The images were shot vertically, a major departure from the traditional, horizontal format of landscape photography. Chaize believes that this format enables him to frame his subject matter in the form of a portrait, as an ongoing photographic chronicle of this ethereal yet playful small nook in nature over the minutes, the days, the years.
This piece concludes with a touchingly sweet music video by Christian Chaize, a video diary created of his visit to New York City for the solo exhibition of Praia Piquinia.
Christian Chaize: A Video Diary of Visiting New York City
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