A Second Life

Artist Profile — Evan Brennan

Sometimes getting off the main road can lead you to a new calling.

That’s how it was for photographer Evan Brennan. A former sales rep for an eyewear company, Evan racked up the mileage trekking throughout North and South Carolina.

Red Chair in Water by Evan Brennan

“I always hated taking the interstates so I would routinely take alternate roads, those roads that used to connect towns before the large highways bypassed them,” said Evan.

“It was just so much more interesting to see real places, as opposed to just a series of fast-food restaurants and gas stations.”

Green Chair in Winston Salem by Evan Brennan

To add some excitement to his road trips, Evan rescued his wife’s old Nikon camera from the bottom of the coat closet.

“I’d always enjoyed taking photographs but up until about three or four years ago, it had always been with pretty basic point-and-shoot cameras and limited to family snapshots,” said Evan.

His Seats series developed from his travels.

Orange Chair and Garage by Evan Brennan

“I noticed a lot of them (chairs) sitting on the side of the road everywhere I went,” said Evan. “So I started stopping and photographing them.”

Red Chair by Evan Brennan

He realized this subject matter’s potential, when Flickr friends and others admired his photo of a salon stool he found in High Point, North Carolina.

“…something about the shape and the setting just jumped out at me. At that point I thought maybe there was more I could do with these discarded chairs than just snap a photo
of them.”

It’s been easy to find abandoned chairs, but harder find the right ones. “People tend to discard furniture at a pretty consistent rate,” said Evan. “There has to be something special or different about the chair for me to pull over at this point. I don’t just stop for any
old chair.

UN Villiage Couch by Evan Brennan

Evan photographs some seats where found, and he searches out a more dramatic scene for others. “If the setting is right I’ll shoot them there; if not, I’ll load it into the back of my station wagon and find a more appropriate or aesthetically pleasing site for the image.”

Gold Chair on Sticks by Evan Brennan

He has some “secret” spots in his repertoire; and he often lights his scenes with at least one flash to get the right look. Like most photographers, Evan takes many photos to get a few choice ones.

“Everything has to come together. The light, the setting, the chair, it all needs to work together perfectly for an image to be ‘successful’,” he said.

Blue Chair on Bridge 2 by Evan Brennan

Evan wonders what the chairs have “experienced”.

“…up until I find them, they lived in someone’s house,” he said. “They were an important part of a person or family’s daily life. And then one day, they’re trash.”

Chair in Field Alone by Evan Brennan

“The goal is to give each of these ‘trash’ pieces of furniture a second life, if only briefly before they’re carted off to the dump or dropped back off onto the side the road somewhere…,” said Evan.

He also hopes to get people thinking about their trash differently.

BTS Red Chair in Water by Evan Brennan

Today Evan is a working photographer, specializing in fashion/editorial shots, but he’s still adding to the Seats series, especially over the past year.

Evan Brennan - Photographer“I currently have two chairs sitting on my back porch waiting for just the right moment, much to my wife’s chagrin,”
he exclaimed.

I wondered if anything strange or funny happened to Evan during one of his shoots.

“Well, I get a lot of weird looks, lots,” said Evan. “But the most interesting thing that’s ever happened was a woman offered to sit in one of my chairs for a photo.

I had set up a little scene in front of a stand alone ATM machine one evening in a parking lot. I shot a few frames and this woman pulled up and asked if I wanted to take her picture in the chair. I couldn’t resist. People always ask how I got her to do it but the truth is it was all her idea.”

Some of Evan’s Seat series is currently on exhibition at The Green Bean in Greensboro, North Carolina.

You can reach Evan, and view more of his work through:

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