Photo: Chris Autio, Jeff Morrow, Saddlery, photograph, n.d., copyright the artist.

Chris Autio: Hands On

May 16 2014 - July 26 2014

Missoula artist Chris Autio has printed over 30 photographs for his photo essay Hands On. Autio states, “This project began as an essay of photographs of only artists’ workspace; their cluttered areas sharply defined by a big camera. But what would tell a story better than having the people in them? While it is ideal to have my subjects working in the photos, from a journalistic perspective, it was also my intention to show their portraits. All of these people have a story to tell, where they work and what they do.”

These black and white photographs have a dramatic presence, and Autio has presented a wide array of subjects, including a masseuse, farrier, potter, guitar craftsman, baker, brewer, and steel forger. He does not consider himself a formal portrait photographer, which explains why his approach is more casual.

In the photographs he includes the environment or tools which his subjects use in their vocation or art making. His selectivity demonstrates his editorial control and the images reveal a sense of pride and personal identity that relates to the labor.

A native Montanan, Autio has been featured in many exhibitions throughout the region. He was featured in a two–person exhibition with Josh DeWeese at MAM in 1996. His work is included in museum collections throughout the state, and several of his photographs are in the MAM Permanent Collection.