Ansel Adams was Chip Hooper’s hero, right from the start. It actually all began with a cheap Diana camera he got when he was still in seventh grade. He had a hard time in art classes, so his teacher let him experiment in the darkroom–Chip took to photography like a fish to water. By eighth grade, he had devoured all of Adams’s books, had talked his parents into letting him set up a darkroom in the basement, and was emulating his hero with all the gusto of his youth. By the time he was a senior in high school, he had a 35mm Nikon and handled the photography for the school paper and the yearbook.
Hooper was born in Miami in 1962, but after a few months, his parents moved to Chicago, where Chip grew up. “I got my commitment to excellence from my folks,” he says today.
He continued to photograph, and even attended a workshop, but when it eventually came time to choose career, it was his music interest that won. He became an agent for musicians, and has gone on to handle some of the biggest names in the business. But all along he kept alive is early love for photography.
“I always had a need to be creative. That’s what drove me to photography in the first place.” In 1988, Hooper moved to Carmel, and soon the urge to get seriously involved with photography become too strong to deny. He bought an 8×10 view camera and began spending a lot of time photographing along the scenic coast that has inspired so many artists before him. “It’s the feeling of the image itself that attracts me to photography the most…the excitement of searching and finding…the satisfaction of sharing.”
By 1993, Hooper was ready to show his work, and his first submission was accepted in that year’s juried exhibition at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel. In 1997, he had his first solo show, held at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. His work continued to attract participation in group shows, and in 1998 he had three more solo exhibitions: at the Alinder Gallery in Gualala, California, at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Pebble Beach, California, and at the Photographic Image Gallery in Portland, Oregon. 1999 opened with a very successful entry into the East Coast scene with a show at New York City’s Edward Carter Gallery. In addition to the Edward Carter Galleries in New York and California, and the Weston Gallery in Carmel, Hooper’s work is represented by the Tatar/Alexander Gallery in Toronto, the Robert Klien Gallery in Boston, and the Photographic Image Gallery in Portland, Oregon.
Hooper is currently creating new images, as well as working on an upcoming book to feature his photography.