Documentary Photography, Visual Arts, Curatorial, Teaching
Tom R. 
Chambers

Tom R. Chambers was a teacher in Technology Applications, College Prep Academy, Raul Yzaguirre School for Success, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., 2007-2013. He also taught and advised after school programming in Digital Photography, Digital/New Media Art and Broadcasting. Many of Chambers' lesson plans were accepted as a part of lesson plan libraries online at Digital Wish, ePals and Adobe Education Exchange. He received an "Exemplary Teacher" award from ePals. He was also nominated for The Library of Congress "Literacy Award/The David M. Rubenstein Prize", 2013.

He is also a documentary photographer/visual artist, and he is currently working with the pixel as Minimalist Art ("Pixelscapes") and Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square". He has over eighty exhibitions, off- and on-line, to his credit. His "My Dear Malevich" project has received international acclaim.

Chambers was Visiting Lecturer in Digital/New Media Art for the Fine Arts Department at Zhaoqing University, Zhaoqing, China, 2005 - 2007. He joined the Department to develop and teach a Digital/New Media Art Program.

He was invited by the National Institute of Design [NID] in Ahmedabad, India to conduct a three-week, New Media Art workshop for its New Media Design graduate students. The workshop culminated in the exhibition, NMA@NID.

Chambers was Executive Committee Member and Juror (2003 - 2005) for the International Digital Art Awards (IDAA). He was instrumental in expanding the content of the IDAA to include New Media Art, and served as on-line New Media Director (2004 - 2005). He was also instrumental in helping to bring the 2005 IDAA Exhibition to Beijing, China under the auspices of the Beijing Film Academy.

He was invited by the Fine Arts Department, New Media Art, Beijing Film Academy, Beijing, China, April 8, 2005 to give a retrospective lecture, Dyer Street Portraiture to Pixelscapes.

Chambers is on the Faculty for Photo-Seminars.com. His documentary portraiture lesson is featured at this site, Profotos.com and others.

He organized and curated two hyperlinked photo exhibitions for the PhotoForum membership under the auspices of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), New York, U.S.A.

Chambers completed a three-year tour (1993-1995) as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa as Art Conservator/Curator for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and as the Initiator/Instructor of The McEwen Photographic Studio for the National Gallery Art School.

He was invited by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe to exhibit Variations On The Dan Mask (December 1995; officially opened by the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe)

Chambers received a U.S. Government Grant via the United States Information Service (USIS), Harare to exhibit Southwest Of Rusape: The Mucharambeyi Connection at the USIS Gallery (June-July 1995; officially opened by the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe; and accepted as a part of the USIS Archives Permanent Collection).

His mixed media/interactive work, Mother's 45s was selected through national search for exhibition as a part of the Parents show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A. (1992).

American Photo magazine listed one of his documentary projects, Dyer Street Portraiture in its March, 1986 issue.

His documentary project, Descendants 350 was shown throughout Rhode Island, and accepted by the Secretary of State (Rhode Island) as a part of the Rhode Island State Archives Permanent Collection (1990) (received a Governor's [Rhode Island] Proclamation).

Chambers founded and directed a not-for-profit, photographic arts organization and gallery, Viewpoint, Lubbock, Texas, U.S.A. (American Photo magazine reviewed one of the exhibitions at the gallery in its April, 1983 issue) (1982-1983).

He also founded and directed a not-for-profit, photographic arts organization, Photoreach, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (1990).

Chambers was listed (1984-1991) in the Artists-In-Education roster with the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts (RISCA) (U.S.A.), and served as an Advisory Panelist for RISCA to determine funding for residency programs.

He also served as an Advisory Panelist for the State of Connecticut Commission on the Arts (U.S.A.) to determine funding for residency programs.

Chambers provided documentation of the homeless and poor [Rhode Island Food Bank (1986)], the elderly [Brown University and the Andrus Foundation/American Association for Retired Persons (1987)], and city life and politics [Executive Office of the Mayor, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.].

He also provided documentation for the Rhode Island Delegation at the Democratic National Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. (1988), which culminated in the exhibition, Hot City.

Chambers conducted Polaroid workshops for at-risk, inner-city youth in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. for Metro Arts, and served as an Advisory Panelist for the organization (1986-1990).

He produced and directed visual arts/performance arts presentations, VP90 (Release) and CYSX2 as a part of First Night Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (1989-1991).

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The pixel as Minimalist Art The pixel as Minimalist Art: In 2000, Chambers began to equate the pixel with the works of non-objective artists like Vasily Kandinsky, Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian and others.

The Primordial Pixel The Primordial Pixel: Chambers continues to equate the pixel with the works of non-objective artists, particularly those who worked/work with Color Field painting.

My Dear Malevich My Dear Malevich: This homage to Kazimir Malevich is a confirmation of Chambers' "Pixelscapes" as Minimalist Art and in keeping with Malevich's Suprematism - the feeling of non-objectivity.

Malevich's Suprematism - Nature's SublimityMalevich's Suprematism - Nature's Sublimity: Chambers combines photographs of nature with "MDM-4" from "My Dear Malevich" to equate the sublime with Suprematism.

Black Square Interpretations Black Square Interpretations: Chambers pays tribute to Kazimir Malevich, and interprets his "Black Square" by moving this iconic geometric figure towards Neosuprematism.

Tom Series Tom Series: Chambers utilizes the self-portrait to project his life experiences. His portrait remains constant with the experience [situation] indicated as a change or flux in the image.

Mother's 45s Mother's 45s: Chambers matched his mother's 45rpm records with the family photographs to pay tribute [She passed away in 1983.]. The project is a blend of the documentary and visual art approach.

Mattie Oline: Thoughts of a Grandmother Mattie Oline: Thoughts of a Grandmother: Chambers pays tribute to his grandmother, Mattie Oline (Battles) Meekins, 1899-1997. She kept a diary from 1948 through part of 1993.

At the Movies: 1952-1969 At the Movies: 1952-1969: The video spans 18 years (1952-1969; kindergarten through college) via movie titles that begin to paint/stroke an abstraction conjuring up another title for the piece: "Title Stroke".

Variations on the Dan Mask Variations on the Dan Mask: Chambers used an African mask from the Dan Tribe in Eastern Liberia [PC-6400-0147] as the object for the generation of photograms to compare traditional and contemporary art forms.

Descendants 350 Descendants 350: This photo album of Descendants of many of the First Settlers of Rhode Island pays tribute to the trials and tribulations that their Ancestors were subjected to during the early to middle 1600s.

Dyer Street Portraiture Dyer Street Portraiture: "The black-and-white images record a diversity of common people in an urban habitat with an ambiance of film noir." (American Photo magazine, March, 1986)

The Great Walk The Great Walk: Chambers' students in China said, "You're not a man until you've walked the Great Wall." Chambers walked part of it at Mu Tian Yu near Beijing, so he guesses he's 'part man'.

Wide-screen Series Wide-screen Series: Black and white photographs in wide-screen format. Chambers uses this format reminiscent of the CinemaScope movies that impressed him when he was a child.

SWR:TMC SWR:TMC: This project was in association with the Mucharambeyi family in Rusape, North East Zimbabwe, Africa and sponsored by U.S.I.S., Harare as an inaugural exhibition/event for the center opening.

People to People People to People: This project takes a look at the Korean people through documentary portraits. Chambers' photographs are combined with those of a Korean photographer, Choi Ok-soo.

The People of Longhu Town The People of Longhu Town: This project takes a look at the Chinese people through documentary portraits. Chambers' photographs are combined with those of a Chinese photographer, Zhao Zenhai.

Just Words Just Words: This project pays tribute to the Native Americans. The namesake is a play on the "White man's" broken promises, and the words seen as a part of the art reflect Chambers' emotional states or reactions.

Buddha Earth Buddha Earth: Chambers made this work for Common Ground ... a touring art exhibition which premiered in Beijing, China in November 2008, and continued in North America and Europe in 2010.

Panhandle Circle-square Panhandle Circle-square: Chambers explores [via Google Earth] the crop circles in the Texas Panhandle. These Earth canvases [Found Art] rival the works of some non-objective artists.

Digital Art projects Digital Art projects: Various art works including Metropolis, Point of View, Rosary, Tomato Box, Fish Story, Feeding Frenzy, Geo, Blue Sky, Toe Totem, Another China, Soft Portraits, Buddha Earth, and Just Words.

New Media Art projects New Media Art projects: Various art works including 360, Public Domain Reconstruction, Streak 16, Mother's 45s Revisited, SWR: TMC Revisited, Pscan Derivatives, Ptone Derivatives, Chinese Character Studies, etc.

Documentary Photo projects Documentary Photo projects: Various photography projects including Hot City, Buddha's Stones: A Stacking Comparison, The Great Wall, Dyer Street Portraiture, Descendants 350, and People to People.

Curatorial work at NGZ Curatorial work at NGZ: Chambers performed extensive curatorial work at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa. He spent three years there as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the Arts.

USPC USPC: Chambers joined the United States Peace Corps in September of 1992. The three years that followed have been the best and most fulfilling in his career.

Involvement with the IDAA Involvement with the IDAA: Chambers was Executive Committee Member and Juror for the IDAA (International Digital Art Award [IDA based in Australia/England]), 2003, 2004 and 2005 IDAA exhibitions.

Involvement with the AeA Involvement with the AeA: Chambers is currently on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Electronic Arts, and his students at RYSS have shown their Digital Art at the annual CeC [Carnival of e-Creativity] in India.

BFA lecture BFA lecture: Chambers was invited by the Fine Arts Department, New Media, Beijing Film Academy, Beijing, China to give a retrospective lecture, Dyer Street Portraiture to Pixelscapes.

Focus Gallery Focus Gallery: A gallery for those individuals utilizing digital generation and manipulation as an art form. Chambers' gallery is one of the oldest on the Internet. Its status today is of a historical nature.

Travelogue Travelogue: Sheng Da College ... an American teacher's experience near Zhengzhou, China. Chambers traveled extensively throughout central China via his student connections.

Exhibitions Exhibitions: Over eighty real and virtual world installations in the U.S.A., South Korea, China, India, Australia, England, Russia, Zimbabwe, Spain, Brazil, and Philippines.

News Articles News Articles: The New Paper, The Providence Journal-Bulletin, Providence Business News, Arts and Cultural Times, Warwick Beacon, American Photo, Rhode Island Monthly, Austin American-Statesman.

Artist Statement Artist Statement: Good technique is necessary to attain a certain level of craftsmanship and competence, but more importantly, is the nurturing of the psyche to a level where the technique becomes second nature, so ...

Misc. Misc.: Featured Photographer at PhotoRequest, Featured Artist at Avenue Gallery, RIT PhotoForum, Tribute to 9/11 Victims, MSU Buddy Reunion, TomHarold, and Links.


Slide shows follow to provide a quick look at some of Chambers' projects:

Just Words

This project pays tribute to the Native Americans. The words seen as a part of the art reflect Chambers' emotional states or reactions to the mistreatment and near annihilation of the indigenous population by his Anglo Saxon Ancestors. He hopes to begin to find closure for his haunted existence with this attempt as a political statement through the Arts.

Wide-screen China

Black and white photographs in wide-screen format. Chambers uses this format reminiscent of the CinemaScope movies that impressed him when he was a child. The bit of distortion seen in most of the images creates a sense of drama with a focus on darks and lights to set a certain mood.

My Dear Malevich

These Pixelscapes ... as a homage ... were found within a photo of Kasimir Malevich via magnification, filter treatment [halftone] and isolation of the pixel(s) in Photoshop. Malevich founded the art movement, Suprematism in Moscow, 1913 as a parallel to Constructivism. This project has been exhibited in China, Russia and the USA.

Mother's 45s

The maturation process of his mother is seen; the man who came into her life and eventually became her husband and his father is seen; the maturation process of her only child (him) is seen; the change in hair and fashion styles is seen; the change in automobile models is seen; and various locales are seen.

Tom Series

Chambers utilizes the self-portrait to project his life experiences. His portrait remains constant with the experience [situation] indicated as a change or flux in the image. The accompanying text details his experience with the inclusion of numerous links to the Internet for additional information.

Pixelscapes: Fifth Generation

This series is a continuation of Pixelscapes, but compounded through noise/texture conversion. This compounded effect or the process of adding pixels on top of pixels ... and at various sizes ... enhances the sublimity, and it also brings in other interpretations or connotations such as plurality, for example the coexistence of several worlds.

All rights reserved, 1997 - 2014.
Listings (Student)

Teacher at RYSS Teacher at RYSS: Chambers' students' projects and accomplishments in Technology Applications, College Prep Academy, Raul Yzaguirre School for Success, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

Visiting Lecturer at ZQUVisiting Lecturer at ZQU: Chambers' art students' projects and accomplishments in Digital/New Media Art at the Fine Arts Department, Zhaoqing University, Zhaoqing, China.

NMA@NIDNMA@NID: Chambers' graduate students' projects and accomplishments in Digital/New Media Art at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India.

The McEwen Photo Studio The McEwen Photo Studio: Chambers initiated and implemented this photographic studio for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa), and its namesake is a tribute to Frank McEwen, the Gallery's first Director, and in recognition of his Workshop School activities for Black African artists during the 1950s and 1960s. His (McEwen's) insight to nurture (then) exceptional talent through a rediscovered medium ... sculpting in stone ... is now reflected through international recognition of this contemporary art form.

Workshops for at-risk youth Workshops for at-risk youth: This six-week photographic workshop was conducted for inner-City youth at the Whitmarsh House, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. as a part of the Metro Arts program, a substance-abuse prevention program through the Arts. The Polaroid medium was utilized to offer instant results as visual concepts were pursued.

SKIA (Street Kids In Action) SKIA (Street Kids In Action): Chambers' Tertiary Project as a Peace Corps Volunteer to reach out via grass-roots development to street children and young adults through a program called, Street Kids In Action. This educational/vocational program brought together interested parties in the African community to make an attempt to solve the 'street problem'. Concerted efforts resulted in substantial funds being raised to offer opportunities to these at-risk young people.

Chambers' take on education reform:

"Based on my sensitization to the middle school environment, I feel that there is a need to get our youth's attention today before we begin to talk about education reform. And why do we need to get their attention? Because the majority of them are not paying attention in the conventional or traditional classroom. This is one reason why there is a lot of retesting to force feed our youth to pass the required exams so they can move through the slush gates of education and ultimately out the door. And it seems most school administrations are okay with this as they attempt to fill their state-mandated quotas translated as achievement percentages.

The students are the victim, here. They may very well pass their required exams at some point in time, but in order to do so, most go through the process of 'pulling and pushing', if you will, to move them away from their lethargic and aliterate behavior to pay enough attention ... and I emphasize, enough ... to pass. I will leave it up to you to define what passing really means.

The students I taught at Raul Yzaguirre School for Success in Houston, Texas accomplished a great deal with me via Technology Applications. I would like to think that I had a great deal to do with this productivity, but it was truly due to hands-on hardware/software, access to the Internet, and project-based activities involving visualization, design and creation of product. And a lot of the classroom activities paralleled or matched similar, personal activities with hardware/software. In other words, my 'wired' classroom was conducive to who they were (are) ... 'wired' youth, 'digital natives'. These accomplishments are evidenced at:

RYSS_PA_6-8_PL_07-13

The lethargic and aliterate behavior in the conventional or traditional classroom is due to two factors: the environmental stimuli via computer technology, media, entertainment, video gaming modes of approach; and the lack of educators being able to acknowledge such, and make amends in the classroom. It seems to me that they need to join the ranks of our youth today, and become 'wired' in the classroom. And if this is approached correctly ... project-based activities via technology applications that cross over into the core subject areas with STEM/STEAM components ... students will participate in and contribute to the educational process for 'real' benefit. And I describe benefit this way because of the practicality of the applications process as a part of the learning activity. Not only will there NOT be a need for retesting, but also an enhancement of skill levels that are required in higher education and at the workplace ..." more

MEE

MEE at TATN [Technology Applications Teacher Network] event/TCEA [Texas Computer Education Association] Conference, Austin, Texas, February 6-10, 2012.

Tweets re: Education/Technology

ePals PowerPoint Presentation/TCEA 2013 Convention (movie version/wmv): Chambers gave a PowerPoint presentation at the ePals booth/TCEA 2013 convention re: the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission 2014/Space Weather Raul Yzaguirre School for Success/Dublin ISD Student Digital Art Workshop.

Moving STEM Towards STEAM
(Presentation for the Global STEMx13 Education Conference, September 19-21, 2013).

Chambers' Letter of Reference excerpts re: nomination for The Library of Congress Literacy Award/The David M. Rubenstein Prize (2013): Chambers was nominated for this literacy award for his work with students at Raul Yzaguirre School for Success.

Chambers' Technology Applications Speaker's web page

Chambers' Consolidated Speaker's website