Photography as a medium has a dual character. Since its introduction, artists have used it to produce both art as well as document the world around them. For Chicago artist Newbold Bohemia, photography is a little bit of both: his photo series have documented real life issues, presented in staged, then manipulated images from his imagination. In his playful yet devious new series, “In an Ideal World,” Bohemia visualizes the story of a rebellious 1950s woman in the domestic world.
Even the name Newbold Bohemia is a fabrication. The artist’s namesake serves as a reminder to create art dedicated to the pillars of Bohemian society: Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love. All of these are present in his “In an Ideal World” series, set in a beautiful, idyllic version of the 1950s, where a blonde femme fatale-housewife comes to terms with life’s truths. As he captures her day to day chores, Bohemia comments on the not-so-idyllic reality of gender roles, and his heroine’s oppression and anger.
“Photos are just a material like paint, wood, or clay. I plan, create, and capture images in my studio or in the field. I color them, paint them, cut them, and combine them — either physically or digitally — to create something new. I try to create not only an image, but an entire world within my image,” explains Newbold, “a world that is fictional but hopefully truthful. As Emerson said, ‘Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures’.”