Stonington Borough, CT
Mystic Chamber of Commerce
Noank Historical Society
Visitors are invited to travel the HopArts Studio Trail on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
CAROLINA — For photographer Chip Klensch, life is all about the details, and he doesn’t have to go far to find subjects that capture his attention.
The flora and fauna surrounding his home offer seemingly endless fodder for his photographic interests. Using a Canon EOS 40D with macro extension tube and zoom lens, he captures images of leaves, bugs, frogs and snakes, creating photos with intense detail that draw you in to take a second look.
His work will be on display as part of the HopArts Studio Trail this weekend. He is among 36 participating artists this year during the event that takes place Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One room of his home at 89 Richmond Townhouse Road, Carolina, will be transformed into a gallery of his work.
Coming from a family of writers and artists, Klensch was strongly influenced by his mother, Copper Klensch, a British artist, children’s book illustrator and writer. He was born in London and moved around a lot as a child, spending some time in Washington, D.C., in the 1960s and later moved to the Berkshires. But his mother felt hemmed in by the mountains, and with a desire to be near the open ocean they arrived in Rhode Island in 1976.
“My mother loved nature,” he says. “She taught me how to shoot and fish and light fires and to keep an eye out for beautiful things. Since I was a kid I was fascinated by nature.”
Klensch went on to become a commercial fisherman, a mason, and an arborist, but it was his work designing websites in the late 1990s that brought him to photography. He taught himself how to use his camera, lenses and Photoshop to bring out the very best in each of his subjects.
“I bought my first digital camera and started taking pictures of things in nature and found I had a flair for it,” says Klensch. “And by 2002 or so, I realized I loved taking pictures of the things I always loved to look at.”
His natural gift as a photographer is a focus on the miniature. “Most things I take pictures of are things most people wouldn’t photograph. I really love taking pictures of spiders and their webs, but those aren’t gonna sell. I see the beauty in it, though. I also photograph butterflies, wildflowers, mushrooms (and lots more). I do it when I can. Every chance I get I take my dog and go into the woods.”
For the last 14 years he has been in Carolina and his favorite place to take photos is his own backyard.
Until this year, his extensive collection of work has been for his own enjoyment. In the spring he had a slide show of images on exhibit at a local coffeehouse — the first time he showed his work in public.
He also had heard about the HopArts Studio Trail but because of illness he had been unable to participate.
“I just kept taking photos,” says Klensch. “But this year I feel up to the challenge. I have lots of new material. ... I feel good, and I think I have a lot to show people. I think I have work that people would like to see.”
Klensch is displaying matted and framed prints at his house and will taken special orders as well. He also has a website, www.ACloserLookPhotography.com.
HopArts, which began in 2005, celebrates the work of local artists through open studios, offering a chance for people to meet the artists, see their creative space and discuss their creative process.
A studio trail map is available at www.HopArts.org as well as at area libraries and most of the 16 sponsors listed on the website, including URE Outfitters, West Bakery, Ma & Pa’s Country Store, and Wildwood Liquors.
The HopArts area is defined as a seven mile radius extending out from the border of Hopkinton and Richmond at Route 138, according to the artist Susan Shaw, head of the HopArts steering committee. “Visiting artists are also invited because their work is unique, speaks to the spirit of working in a rural community, and adds to the diversity of art being presented,” she said.
Klensch says, “I think HopArts creates an awareness of the critically under-acknowledged cultural atmosphere of our community. There are some wonderful artisans with HopArts and it’s a humbling experience to be among them.”