Media File
Walter Chappell
Date: American photographer, 1925–2000
Biography: Born in Portland, Oregon Chappell studied architectural drawing at Benson Polytechnical School and piano and musical composition at the Ellison-White Conservatory of Music. Around 1942 he befriended Minor White, but after serving in World War I, Chappell focused on music, painting, and writing. He published a book of poetry, Logue and Glyphs in 1948. In 1957 he settled in Rochester, New York, to study photographic printing with Minor White. He also wrote for Aperture magazine. That year he published Gestures of Infinity, which included his own poetry and images, and in 1960 he published Under the Sun with images by Chappell, Nathan Lyons, and Syl Labrot. With Paul Caponigto, Carl Chiarenza, and others, Chappell founded the Association of Heliographers. In the late 1960s, he moved to Big Sur, California, then Taos, New Mexico, and then San Francisco, where he lived until 1974. He experimented with new subjects and techniques including high voltage/high frequency electron imagery of plants. From 1977 through 1979 he worked in Hilo, Hawaii, as an artist-in-residence at the Volcano Arts Center. In 1977, 1980, and 1984, Chappell received National Endowment for the Arts Photographer's Fellowships.