Roots And All

Charles Grogg’s photographs are hauntingly beautiful. And they are strange… Strings and wire are often an integral part of a Grogg photograph… wire, string, tendrils, roots, veins, all the connecting tethers of life. ~John Wood, Poet & Photographic Historian


Charles Grogg, Subterraneous From After Ascension And Descent series, Gelatin Silver Print, 20×24, Courtesy Corden|Potts Gallery, San Francisco, © Charles Grogg.

In his catalogue, After Ascension and Descent, Grogg observed that “wires, tethers, ropes, string, conduits all appear whenever there is something important near,” and he realized that he “must be tethered too.” All is connected but we are all divided. If we could “only connect.” And so wire, string, tendrils, roots, veins, all the connecting tethers of life, became his metaphor.


Charles Grogg, Bonsai From Reconstructions series, Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi, Sewn on Japanese Washi, 28×36, Courtesy Corden|Potts Gallery, San Francisco, © Charles Grogg.

Charles Grogg is an American contemporary cross-disciplinary artist and photographer based in southern California, where he produces fractured photographic images printed in silver and sewn through or in platinum and palladium on handmade Japanese washi, which are restitched into whole images and frequently feature tethers, sutures or other three-dimensional productions. The resulting images focus on issues of growth and restraint, hesitation and power. He has synthesized imagery from literature as well as the pictorial arts into his imaginative workflow. Botanicals and other natural imagery, architecture, and nudes are often isolated from environmental backgrounds both to draw attention to their inherently sensual details and to make their implausible disconnection from the natural and vital world a cause for further investigation.


Charles Grogg, Cracked From After Ascension And Descent series, Toned Gelatin Silver Print, brown cotton thread, 20×24, Courtesy Corden|Potts Gallery, San Francisco, © Charles Grogg.

Grogg employs both traditional and digital photographic techniques to achieve his imagery. He uses black and white film, currently preferring Ilford FP4 Plus in 4×5 and 120 sizes. Polaroid 55 P/N, a film once favored by Ansel Adams, was also a favorite of Grogg’s before it was discontinued, and the Hasselblad 501 and a DLC Canham -a handmade aluminum 4×5 field camera. The finished prints of these images are sensual artifacts, developed and toned in silver gelatin or luxuriously handcoated platinum/palladium on handmade Japanese gampi, a rare and beautiful washi.


Charles Grogg, Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg, Limited Edition Monograph Book, 2012.

Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg: The beautifully crafted deluxe limited edition book with 11 poems and an essay by John Wood, is a magnificent selection from two bodies of his work. There are ten 11″ x 14″ platinum prints on extremely rare Japanese Gampi Torinoko paper and three free-standing 20″ x 24″ hand sewn from his signature Reconstructions series. Each of the thirteen are printed and signed by Grogg. The monumental binding design at 20″ x 21.5″ using fabric, goatskin, and actual cracked egg shells makes this one of the most ambitious 21st Editions book/print sets to date. Masterpiece.

Grogg’s images have been shown in galleries internationally and published widely in fine art photography periodicals. To see his portfolio and to learn more about his process, visit the artist’s website: Charles Grogg. He is represented by Corden|Potts Gallery in San Francisco.