Photographer Bill Di Grazia preserves Chico landmarks in a peculiar light.
He photographs iconic Chico buildings, then manipulates and tweaks the images using his computer, which stretches the viewer's imagination. He alters the buildings, foreground, and sky. He even adds an animal or two to his creation and then prints the photos on canvas. The images become something instantly recognizable yet distinct and very unique.
The artist’s keen sense of humor is also apparent in his work, and his photos are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
We had the opportunity to ask Bill a few questions recently.
What was the first picture you ever took?
I am not sure of the exact first picture. I snapped a few with my mom’s camera. My first camera was a Brownie circa 1954. Some of the initial shots from that camera were from Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and Disneyland.
How was the idea for your Chico photos on canvas conceived?
The original shot that started the series was of Northern Star Mills. It reminded me of the Lincoln Memorial. To give it the feeling of an important monument, I separated it out and added a dramatic sky. Jake the mascot was in front that evening so each one of the series got its own animal.
What kind of things do you leave out or not include in your photos?
I might include anything! I will have to wait and see what I missed when I take my last photograph.
How do you know when a photo is complete?
That is a good question. Some photographs are completed with the push of the shutter. Some require a light touch. Still others need a complete makeover. With the advent of Photoshop, the photographer has far more control than ever before. I believe my visual sense and art background helps settle on a final image.
Do you have any pre-shoot rituals?
Nowadays, I make sure I do not have film in my camera.