Chad Gerth
Artist Statement


This body of work is about five things: sound, memory, time, movement, and surface.  These photographs are real-time documents of preserved sound being released and preserved again by the camera.  There is an intersection between the system of the record player and the process of photography.  As photographs, they emit no sound, yet a viewer may unconsciously remember or imagine the song depicted - the year, the band, the time period.  Durations can be compared and considered.  The ghost arm is the result of the leftover time (silence) needed to maintain equal exposure times for each song.  Longer songs in this series have fainter ghost arms, but the arc of the needle’s movement is not always constant because different records are tracked differently. 


The grooves of a record require movement and time to decode the information they hold.  As time and movement are recorded on photographic film, colours and shapes change, sound is lost, movement becomes stillness, miniscule grooves become patterns.  Object and event become process; process becomes surface; the surface holds information which can be revealed but not decoded.  Photographs are two-dimensional by nature, so this information on the surface of the record must be decoded by some other process, possibly memory.


Time can be recorded in many ways.  Consider how many ways we are bound to time.  Music and sound require time to occur.  Photography requires an exposure duration.  Memory is instantaneous, but contemplation takes time.  These photographs are the result of long exposures, but can be viewed in an instant.  How much time passes before the encoded information is unlocked and contemplated? 


Chad Gerth is interested in the intersection of technology, commerce, and contemporary culture. His work comprises time-lapse images of LP records playing, flattened candy wrappers, and the architecture of urban driving ranges in Japan. He works in series, often treating his subjects as biological specimens or scientific studies. Since his emergence in the late 1990s, Gerth has developed his own unique style of photography including the use of photograms; passing light through broken glass and ice directly onto orthographic film to create enigmatic x-ray like images. 

Gerth has written about his work: "Photographs are two-dimensional by nature, so the extra-dimensional information on the surface must be deciphered by some other process, most often memory. Object and event become process; process becomes surface; the surface holds information which can be revealed but not decoded." Gerth was born in 1975 and received his BFA from Ryerson University and his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.