Paul Chaplo comes by his passion for landscape photography and flying quite naturally. When he was a boy he roamed around his family’s farm in upstate New York with a camera and light meter given to him by his grandfather. Those early explorations into photography developed an appreciation for capturing the beauty of the landscape. The son of an Air Force pilot, Paul developed an interest and love of aviation simultaneously with his interest in photography. He honed that interest and natural talent through a fellowship in the Master of Fine Arts photography program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Graduating with an MFA, Chaplo established a successful career in commercial photography with a special emphasis on aerial photography.
Recently he combined his experience in aerial photography with his background and training in the arts to produce a book and exhibition entitled, Marfa Flights, Aerial Views of Big Bend Country, published by Texas A&M University Press. The exhibition debuted at the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas and will travel to several other museums. At present he is at work on a similar project devoted to the Llano Estacado region of Texas.
Adept as a photographer, Paul also brings an artist’s eye to his work. He credits learning to draw as a guiding force in the way he selects scenes to photograph and how he composes each shot. He says, “I suppose that my greatest influence as a photographer, is that I learned to draw. In learning to draw, I learned to design the space in the composition of an image.”
In graduate school, Chaplo developed a deep appreciation for the work of such abstract expressionists as Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell. Those artists, along with such pioneering photographers as Minor White, still influence his work today. He says that he wants to create images that go beyond simply recording the landscape, but which can also be appreciated as “works of art.” Even a cursory review of his recent work reveals that he has accomplished that goal.
Paul and his wife, Cyndi, an artist and musician as well, live in Fort Worth.