About Me:

I am a fine art photographer from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I was born here in 1975; and this northeast Indiana city has been my home except for a year and a half spent in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

My work is primarily documentary in nature. I am a historian as well as an artist, and my interest in the past drives much of my work. Photography has allowed me to explore the world around me in a way that few people do. We live our lives surrounded by the evidence of the past. Old buildings stand as monuments to lives lived long ago, and old people are living witnesses to history.

Every year, I see the world around me change. Buildings demolished, new ones built. People die while new lives begin. Open a history book, and you'll read hundreds or even thousands of pages of text about the wealthy, the famous, the powerful, the important. What of the silent masses, whose lives are the backbone of civilization?

The Allen County Public library in downtown Fort Wayne has one of the largest collections of geneological research materials in North America. You can go there and uncover your family's history by looking up birth certificates, marriage licenses, high school and college graduation records, records of military service, census records, etc.

In doing such research, you'll quickly find that the lives of most of those who came before us have been reduced to statistics and dates typed on old government record forms. You can find when people were born, what education they achieved, when they married, if they had children. What you cannot find is the most important thing of all: the real stories of their lives.

My work has allowed me to see and preserve the memory of the forgotten commonplace lives that history ignores. An old building sits abandoned, but it is usually not completely empty. People leave behind furniture, clothes, books, pictures, toys.

a portrait of fine art photographer Christopher Crawford holding a Voigtlander Bessa R2 rangefinder camera

Read my essays on Photography:

The Role of Documentary Photography in Art and History

One abandoned house that I photographed had a wedding dress in the attic. That dress, the curtains on the windows, and some shampoo bottles in the medicine cabinet were all that were left behind. These are not mere things, but a question: why? Surely there must be a tragic event that made a family abandon their home, leaving that dress in the attic.

Another house was full of broken furniture and so much trash that the floor was almost completely covered in garbage, old paperwork, and torn garbage bags. Among the garbage were reminders that this had once been a happy family's home. Scattered through the piles of junk were fifteen dolls, including several Christmas-themed dolls such as a Santa Claus and a snowman. There were numerous children's books about Christmas, with titles such as Baby's Christmas and The Christmas Santa Almost Forgot. A little sticker on a piece of wood that I found on the floor said simply: "Love makes the world go round." With the Doll House, I left my usual documentary focus to build a story with the dolls over a period of several months before the house was finally demolished.

I have also met, photographed, and told the stories of many people that I have met in my journeys through the years. People like Richard Youse, an 87 year old Indiana farmer who lived with his fifteen cats in the ancient farmhouse that his parents bought in 1924.

My earlier work, before I moved to New Mexico, concentrated on rural Indiana. Since returning to Fort Wayne, my hometown, I have concentrated on documenting the overlooked people and places of this place, Indiana's second largest city. Lifelong residents of Fort Wayne often ask me where I found an interesting local place that they've seen in my photographs. More often than not, they are surprised to learn that it is a place that they have driven past, without noticing it, hundreds of times over many years.

I am a full time professional artist, with a large number of group and individual exhibitions to my credit. I am also a graphic designer and web designer, and my fine art photographs have been used in a number of advertisements, magazine articles, and music CD covers.

Aspiring photographers often write me asking for technical help, and for them I have created a seperate website, crawfordphotoschool.com, with a number of free tutorials. I am also available for private lessons for those who live near enough to meet me in person.

 

Exhibits and Publications:

Publications:

Leica Users Group Yearbook 2011
Every year, the Leica Users Group publishes a book of work by its members. I contributed two photographs and an essay on the role of documentary photography in art and history. The book can be previewed and purchesed on Blurb.

Northern Indiana Lakes Magazine
This new magazine published in Fort Wayne, IN used my fine art photographs of rural Indiana to illustrate the Editor's Column and the Final Page feature for the magazine's first five issues in 2005-2006.

Popular Photography and Imaging Magazine, November, 2003
The magazine published an article about me that included a two page spread of my photographs. They printed seven of my photographs and one made by my 6 year old son, MacKenzie Crawford.

Arts United of Northeast Indiana, Spring Newsletter, 1999
Photograph published to illustrate an article on Artlink's Self Portrait Exhibit

Best of College Photography Annual, 1997
Published by Serbin Communications/Photographer's Forum Magazine

 

Major Collections:

Professor AnnMarie LeBlanc, Head of the Visual Communications Department at Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne
Purchases in 1994 and 2003

Lincoln National Corporation Art Collection, purchase in spring, 1999

 

Experience:

2015
I was a judge for the Creative Writing division of the 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

November, 2013
I was one of the three judges for a juried photography exhibition, Clark Gallery at the Honeywell Center, Wabash, Indiana.

Spring 2003
Adjunct Faculty, Indianapolis Art Center. Taught beginning black and white photography and darkroom class for teens, and Adobe Photoshop class for teens.

 

Media Coverage:

December 2008
Fort Wayne Reader. Work reviewed in article about the Fort Wayne Photographers exhibit at Artlink. Article by Dan Swartz.

September 2002
Access Fort Wayne, Allen County Public Library cable access. Interviewed by Exhibitions Director Leslie Lundgren.

July 19, 2002
Channel 21 News, Fort Wayne. Featured on the 21 Country segment with Eric Olson.

 

Solo Exhibitions:

July - December 2003
Christopher Crawford, People and Places, Borders Bookstore Cafe, Fort Wayne, IN
  
April - June 2003
Christopher Crawford, Abandoned Places, Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, IN

July 2002
Christopher Crawford: People and Places, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN

February 2000
Christopher Crawford: Abandoned Places, The Photography Gallery, Indianapolis, IN

 

Group Exhibitions:

September 2016
Indiana Bicentennial Exhibit, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

June 2015
Left To Ruin, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

May 2015
Fort Wayne and Its People, Darmstadt House, Plock, Poland

March 2015
Contemporary American Family, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

July 2013
Members Exhibit, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

June 2013
The F-Stops Here, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

December 2008
Fort Wayne Photographers, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

February 2008
Fantasmagoria Art Show, Fort Wayne, Indiana

February 2008
A Night of Chocolate and Art, DeBrand Fine Chocolates, Fort Wayne, Indiana. A fundraiser for the Fort Wayne Museum of art.

January 2008
Winter Solstice Exhibit, Zia Coffeeshop, Fort Wayne, Indiana

April 2007
Avante Garde Pushpin Show, Center for Museum Resources at the Museum of New Mexico,
Santa Fe, NM. Awarded Honorable Mention

May 2006
Fort Wayne Photographers, Plock Photographic Society at the Zielinski Library, Plock, Poland

October 2005
Photography Alumni of the Visual Communications Dept, Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN

January 2005
Fort Wayne Photographers, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

June 2004
Regional Art Exhibit, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, IN

June 2004
Members Exhibit, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

April 2004
Self Portraits, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN
This Exhibit featured my work, as I was invited to photograph every artist in the exhibit and my photographs were hung alongside each artist’s self portraits so that viewers could see how the artist really looked and how they chose to portray themselves.

November 2003 - January, 2004
Lots of Little Art, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

November 2003
The Holiday Art Fair, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

July 2003
The Members Exhibit, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

January 2003
Fort Wayne Photographers, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

November 2002
The Holiday Art Fair, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

November 2001
The Holiday Art Fair, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

July 2001
The Members Exhibit, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

January 2001
Fort Wayne Photographers, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

November 1999
Art For Sale, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

July 1999
The Members Show, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

May 1999
The Senior Show, Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne School of Fine and Performing Arts, Fort Wayne, IN

March 1999
Self Portraits, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

November 1998
Art For Sale, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

October 1998
The Second Artlink Regional (Biennial), Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

July 1998
The Members Show, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

June 1998
Current and Former Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne Photography Students, Henry’s Restaurant, Fort Wayne, IN

February 1998
Club Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

January -  February 1998
Fort Wayne Photographers, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

January 1998
Club Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

January - March 1998
Focus Series, four person show, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

July, 1997
The Members Show, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

July, 1996
The Members Show, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

July, 1995
The Members Show, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

 

Online Exhibits:

February, 2009
APUG Show on Fraction Magazine. An exhibit of 29 members of the Analogue Photography Users Group on Fraction Magazine, an online magazine devoted to fine art photography.

November, 2001
Featured photographer on the Calumet Photocafe main page. From December 2001 to June, 2002 I was featured on the Photocafe's Fine Art Section.

 

Education:

Masters of Liberal Arts, with concentration in Literature.
Indiana University Fort Wayne, 2012.

Bachelors of Fine Arts, with concentration in Photography.
Indiana University Fort Wayne, 1999.