You Should Know … Doug Fogelson

First the Walker, then the Getty. What’s next for this young photographer? Books that promote other artists, that’s what.

It would be easy to say that Chicago photographer Doug Fogelson is having his moment: After ten years of shooting bread-and-butter commercial projects while doing art photography on the side, art has finally eclipsed commerce. His oeuvre has been featured at museums such as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; private collectors are adding Fogelsons to their Shermans and Struths; and he’s consistently landing solo shows in galleries and small museums from coast to coast.

“I still haven’t had a solo show at a major museum, though,” jokes the 37-year-old, who lives in Ukrainian Village with his wife and son. But, if Fogelson’s “moment” is anything like the moments he photographs, then it might take a few more frames to get the full picture. Unlike many photographers who seek to capture time, Fogelson is obsessed with extending it, which he does by taking multiple shots of his subjects—be they leaves, waves, or people—from different perspectives or at different time intervals, without fully advancing the film between frames. The result is a collection of filmstrip-like tableaus composed of overlapping frames. They depict everything from people on a street corner to clouds in the sky, all bumping up against one another, all hyper-existing, all squeezing into a linear moment created by Fogelson himself.

“It’s a simple mechanism of the camera that I’m exploiting,” says Fogelson, who is committed to working with other artists. He has incorporated his photographs into large-scale light fixtures for Collaboraction theatre company and into a credenza for the local furniture designer Michael Koehler. Even Fogelson’s day job, running Front Forty Press, a four-employee-strong art book publishing house, is rooted in the promotion of other artists. Last year, after publishing and distributing four titles, including Short Stories Illustrated by Artists (the title sums it up) and Graffitecture, featuring Fogelson’s own architecture photography artfully “defaced” by graffiti artists whom he commissioned, the small house landed distribution through the University of Chicago Press. In April, Front Forty will release The Hole, by the artist John Jennings and writer Damian Duffy, a graphic novel that Fogelson describes as “a tome on race, voodoo, and consumer culture, written as much for the high-level academician as it is for the comic book enthusiast. It’s so radical, it takes a little while to wash through your consciousness.” Just give it an (extended) moment.

Photograph: Lisa Predko

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