Clarissa Bonet

(American, b. 1986; resides in Chicago, IL)

For her City Space series (2011-16), Clarissa Bonet observes and takes note of chance encounters and interactions she witnesses between strangers on the streets of downtown Chicago. Initially recording the interactions with her iPhone, in what she calls “sketches,” Bonet later restages the moments, carefully setting up her location, lighting, and models to recreate the scene. The resulting pictures portray mundane exchanges as dramatic, with individuals anonymously and solitarily navigating a confounding urban terrain. 

In another series, Stray Light (ogoing), Bonet again turns her camera to the city, stitching together multiple images of architectural details at night and creating a poetic vision of a nocturnal cityscape. The constructions vanish in the darkness as illuminated windows in various color shades emerge out of the black. In some images, people, plants, or furniture can be identified behind the windows; in others, light spots form an almost abstract geometrical cluster. Each window references something unknown and mysterious and the collective glimmers of light mimic a star-filled night sky.  

Born in Tampa, Florida, Clarissa Bonet completed her MFA in photography at Columbia College Chicago (2012) and her BS in Photography at the University of Central Florida (2008). Her work has been exhibited in the Calumet Gallery, Chicago (2013); Southeast Museum of Photography; Daytona Beach, Florida (2012); Center for Fine Art Photography, Ft. Collins, Colorado (2012); and at the Pingyao International Photo Festival in Pingyao, China (2011), among others. In 2012 she won The Curator award from Photo District News, as well as the Jurors Choice Award and Members Choice Award from Lens 2012 at Perspective Gallery, Chicago. Bonet lives and works in Chicago, IL.