Chester Hooper

Stephanie and Chester Hooper

Chester Hooper

Artist’s Bio

Attorney Chester Hooper is exceptionally devoted to his profession in the law and to his art as a photographer. He built his own darkroom in his home in Harvard, Mass., and he and his wife Stephie have traveled around the country and around the world taking pictures. He specializes in black and white and likes to fashion his image by way of chemicals and enlarging paper instead of a Mac and the most recent version of Photoshop. “Darkroom technique is still taught” in various photography programs at universities around the country, says Mr. Hooper (who informally goes by Chet). He believes in keeping up the tradition of photography done hands-on, a different art than the digital one practiced today by most photographers, both professional and non-professional. Even the film he uses would sound exotic to many people accustomed to 35-millimeter and even more to the millions who now shoot entirely in digital format. Chet and his wife have practiced photography on several excursions with the National Geographic Society, most recently in the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Washington and Oregon. “I like landscapes,” says Chet, and he relishes the opportunity to get detailed exposures of large, expansive scenes in the great outdoors. Such pictures can be captured better with a larger film such as medium format with a camera, such as Chet’s Hasselblad, a Swedish piece of equipment he purchased 12 years ago that features excellent lenses. (NASA used a Hasselblad on the moon, Chet informs us. They had to leave it behind because its weight might have prevented the astronauts from lifting off and getting back to Earth.) Chet also uses his Leica M-3, which he bought in 1967. Stephie uses her Leica M-4 (a wedding present from Chet) and shoots in color. Growing up in New Jersey and living and working for 40 years in the greater New York area, a few years ago Chet and his wife moved up to the Central Mass area, where Chet’s father had grown up and not far from Cambridge, where Stephie grew up. It’s a beautiful area, he says, and an ideal spot for any photographer who loves to create landscapes. He likes the fascinating contrasts that he can get with black & white so much that he doesn’t take many color photos anymore. “Color can be so complex,” Chet says, that it might almost be a distraction from the kind of purity and clarity that he can achieve by concentrating on the infinite gradations of different shades of grey.

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