Columbus based photographer Chas Ray Krider has spent most of his considerable career inviting us behind closed doors, offering glimpses of lovely models wearing vintage lingerie within the stylized, voyeuristic setting known as Motel Fetish.
These hundreds of sensual, artistic images have been published as a trilogy of noir-themed books published by Taschen, beginning in 2002 with Motel Fetish, followed by Do Not Disturb in 2008 with French publisher La Musardine in Paris, the trilogy completed with Rendezvous by Goliath Books of Berlin in 2015.
Recently, Muse Gallery presented a limited exhibition of iconic Chas Ray Krider images from the Motel Fetish period, during the event The Last Motel - Motel Fetish is Closed.
“Chas Ray Krider is a true original. He has a vision and style that is distinctly his own," Photographer Kris Misevski said. "Although I’m sad to see the Motel Fetish series come to an end, I’m very excited to see what Chas will do next.”
In addition to the exhibit, there was a print sale of Chas Ray's works as well as items and accoutrements from the Motel Fetish Collection: MF logo Zippo lighters and ashtrays, embroidered Motel Fetish hand and bath towel sets, hi-ball cocktail glasses and the ever popular embroidered Motel Fetish sheer panty.
There were free gifts for all who attended; the Motel Fetish CD soundtrack, Motelesque, plus a set of 6 motel photo postcards.
For the exhibit, Chas installed Motel Vivant, a live reenactment of a photograph involving a classic motel set with live models styled in appropriate Motel Fetish attire. Adding to the ambience, local musician Bob Ray Starker incorporated some live instrumentation, playing a very dreamy piece on the saxophone. The performance was mesmerizing. (Motel Vivant is a take off on Tableau Vivant which is typically a figure painting staged using live performers.)
Featured below is a fantastic poster for the exhibit designed by Lorenzo Eroticolor, and inspiration and friend of Krider's.
"About four years ago online, I came across the work of Lorenzo Eroticolor. The name alone caught my attention," Krider said. "The use of the invented name Eroticolor is in the French tradition of playing with the language, spelling, and puns. I fell for Lorenzo's work the moment I first saw it ... timeless, class style, yet at the same time utterly contemporary.
His art was a combination of past and present, like my photography. Upon email communication, he and I developed a mutual appreciation for each other's work ... I asked Lorenzo to consider doing a poster for the closing of Motel Fetish. He did not hesitate, producing a fantastic poster based on one of my photos of area model Kelsey Dylan. The poster is a stylish design with a nod to vintage and centered on a most provocative central image."
The Last Motel event was a great success, in large part due to the brilliance of Krider's imagery, but also to the savvy production and marketing provided by Muse Gallery Director Caren Petersen.
"I loved the way Chas thought through every aspect of this particular thread, this particular storyline. He made us forget that he was an artist creating a scene," Petersen said. "We all thought Chas was literally Motel Fetish, living a life in dark corners and seedy motels. It is the sign of a great artist.”
Regardless, one must check out the Motel Fetish book, eloquently described by Editor Eric Kroll:
"Like a good film noir, he takes us to lustful places. Is it a crime scene or a sea of lust? These beautiful, languid women wait for whom? For me. For you. An ass in the air, a pair of crossed legs in nylons, a still life unstuck in time. So this is what goes on behind closed doors? Chas takes you places where you only vaguely think you have been."
Part of NID Magazine for many years, Chas has become a staple contributor, one we always look forward to working with, because his imagery is always startling, arresting, and incredible.
Check out Chas' website, store, and this article from Maxim magazine, as well as these photos he posted with us.
Believe us, we can promise more fantastic Chas Ray Krider work in the future.
About Breck Hapner
Managing Editor Breck Hapner covers every facet of the Columbus nightlife, entertainment, festival, music, food & drink, art, film, and fashion scene, while also being known to pen articles, reviews, editorials, and even photograph from time to time.