Clarissa Bonet’s cityscapes reflect the anonymity of living in Chicago

The Tampa-born photographer wanders the city for hours, finding inspiration in people, situations and scenes that she then goes on to recreate using actors and models whom she finds on Craigslist

Gillian Orr
Saturday 24 October 2015 18:18 BST
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‘Perpetual Shadow’, 2014
‘Perpetual Shadow’, 2014 (© Clarissa Bonet/courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago)

Clarissa Bonet started shooting cityscapes when she moved to Chicago six years ago. It was an entirely different environment to the sprawling, slow-paced Tampa, Florida, where she had lived her whole life, and she became enthralled by the high rises and energy of the Windy City.

"While Tampa is large geographically, it's made up of loads of neighbourhoods, so it actually feels suburban," says the 29-year-old. "Moving to this vertical city was really fascinating to me and I wanted to explore that photographically."

Bonet wanders the city for hours, finding inspiration in people, situations and scenes that she then goes on to recreate using actors and models whom she finds on Craigslist.

‘Proximity’, 2014 (© Clarissa Bonet/courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago)

"I feel a bit like a street photographer," she insists. "I'll take the train downtown and then go on a huge walk. I use my phone to take snapshots and I'll sketch things in my notepad, and just start to piece together the idea and conceptual framework."

The subjects in her pieces cast lonely figures, often in the shadows, with their faces obscured. Bonet explains that she is intrigued by the idea of anonymity in the city. "The people who populate my space within the city are kind of unknown individuals," she says. "When I first came to Chicago it was striking to me that we all share this space with hundreds of thousands of other people. You walk by so many people every day and you'll never know any of them; you'll never even see them again. But they're still there. You feel their presence."

For more: clarissabonet.com. All prints can be seen and purchased from edelmangallery.com

© Clarissa Bonet/courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

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