(b.1968; resides Chicago, IL)
In his Full Circle series, Stephen Szoradi departs from the linear progression of his traditional documentary-style portraits of steel workers, in an attempt to capture the cyclical nature of his current subject, the City of Chicago water system. Silver-gelatin prints meditate on the stages of refinement that create a product and later restore it to be used again. The pictures themselves build in complexity and then seem to break down, moving from the sparseness of a single drain in an unfinished concrete room to a labyrinth of sharply angled waterways. Diptych and triptych formats reinforce themes of repetition and inter-connectedness, sometimes by creating a union from multiple parts or emphasizing the structural similarity between panels, sometimes by playing with the notion of sequence and progression inherent in adjacent frames while nonetheless showing a single time and place. A selection of work from the Fluff series, showing a confusion of slag and scrap metal, is also included in the portfolio and evidences Szoradi’s early investigations of raw materials and their transformation, concerns later detailed and developed in Full Circle.
Szoradi holds a BA in Photography/Architecture from Bennington College (1990) and an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago (1997). His solo exhibitions and installations include Full Circle at The Water Tower Gallery, Chicago, and at Indiana University Northwest, Gary; Fluff: Shredder Residue at The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Working Chicago at Treffpunkt Rotebahlplatz, Stuttgart, Germany; and Blue Collar Cathedral at both The Chicago Cultural Center and Ab Imo Gallery, Chicago. His work has also been featured in From Steel to Flesh at Indiana University, Gary; You are Here, Chicago in the Year 2000 at The Chicago Cultural Center, and the traveling show The View From Here, which returns from Central Europe in April 2003.