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Hot Damn!

Hot Damn!

by Chloe Sells

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Chloe Sells worked as a personal assistant for American writer and journalist Hunter S Thompson from 2003 until his death in 2005. This new book combines Sells’ photographs of Hunter’s home —documenting the interior, his possessions and handwritten notes—with landscape of Aspen, Colorado, and her recollections of her time spent working with him. Some of Sells’ hand-printed photographs have been overlaid with traditional marbling techniques from Italy and Japan, to create a psychedelic ride through the home of one of the most brilliant writers of our time.

The publication of the book coincided with an exhibition of the work at Galerie Miranda, Paris from 4 November 2021 – 15 January 2022.

More about this book

Hunter S. Thompson, a counter-culture icon, was an American journalist and writer, best known for his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971) and for creating ‘Gonzo Journalism.’ Alongside his distinctive and original voice, he was also known for his love of firearms, contempt for authority and lifelong use of alcohol and illegal narcotics. It is fitting that Sells’ hallucinatory manipulations of her photographs lift a straightforward visual documentary project into
something more representative of Thompson and his vision.

Sells has always photographed with film and prints her work by hand in the darkroom. Her previous work has melded darkroom alchemy and handmade manipulations of her current home in Botswana.
This new series has incorporated swirling abstract patterns directly onto the prints—using a form of Suminagashi, or floating ink, a Japanese paper marbling technique. The unique and capricious visual results echo the unpredictable life and mind of Hunter S. Thompson and they represent a place so dear to him.

Published January 2022
290 x 210 mm, 184 pages
105 colour images, Hardback
ISBN 978-1-910401-45-3

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  • Born in Aspen, Colorado, Sells graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Fine Art, and gained her Masters in Fine Art from Central St. Martins in 2011. She currently lives and works between London and Maun, Botswana. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held in New York, Paris and London.

  • ‘Officially, I was a personal assistant. Unofficially, I did anything and everything that needed doing. One night, Hunter beckoned me to his chair in the kitchen and said, "So, you say you’re a photographer. Well, Taschen is doing a book of my photographs," followed by a mocking "Ha, Ha." I didn’t mind; Hunter was Hunter. A moment later his face changed, and, looking sheepish and sorry for bullying his young assistant, he began to explain that almost his whole life had been documented—except for his home—the ramshackle, remarkable creative heartland that was Owl Farm. It needed to be visually archived, he said to me, and it was mine to photograph if I liked.’

    - Chloe Sells