.‘Proof of Experience’at Chromatic Coffee

'Proof of Experience' shows two emerging photographersdrawing from rebel skateboarding past

LEARNING AS THEY GO: ‘Proof of Experience’ shows two emerging photographers drawing from rebel skateboarding past.

Still informed by the DIY aesthetic they picked up while skateboarding in high school, photographers Dustin Adams and Shona Sanzgiri have each succeeded in pursuing photography on their own terms.

Both were exposed to the craft during those early skater days, when Sanzgiri first took photos of friends on disposable cameras and Adams shot and edited skate movies until he opted to trade in his video rig for a rangefinder camera.

The two share the spotlight for the aptly titled exhibit “Proof of Experience,” opening Feb. 5 as part of Chromatic Coffee’s First Thursdays series.

While Adams studied photography at De Anza College, he explains the experience almost made him give it up because “there were too many rules and things they wanted you to follow.” He managed to stick with the art form by hewing to the independent spirit he picked up in his skateboarding days. The DIY approach led him to develop a mad scientist-like process, which he’s honed over 10 years of trial and error.

Adams crafts highly stylized, multi-layered photographs using custom-built cardboard exposure units. He’s made about 20, and five currently hide out in his closet. To achieve his signature aesthetic, Adams unspools his film inside these units, then utilizes their various holes and tubes to bounce different lights off of holographic paper. The process produces a dream-like sheen atop his contemplative compositions.

Former Metro contributor Sanzgiri was intimidated by the SLR he purchased from a family friend because it seemed so technical, but he finally opted just to learn along the way. He picked up photography as a way to inspire short stories, yet when the aspiring author developed his film, he decided the photos needed no explanation. As he says, “they were way more interesting than anything I could’ve made up.”

When Sanzgiri approached Chromatic Coffee about exhibiting his work in the popular shop, he had no idea the inquiry would end up reuniting him with a friend from his teenage skateboarding days in Cupertino.

Chromatic may not be far from a traditional gallery, but that’s exactly what appealed to Sanzgiri, who feels that the inviting space takes away the cold formality of some galleries. It also opens up his art to a whole new audience. “It puts the art in a more casual, everyday setting, which I think is how it should be,” he says. Local indie punks Rex Goliath will perform at the show.

Proof of Experience

Feb 5, 6-9pm, Free

Chromatic Coffee


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