Allan's earliest memory is an incident that took place when he was about six months old, riding in his baby carriage. He remembers the sensation of being immobilized, wrapped up in swaddling. His vision was occluded by the presence of a rattle, likely offered as entertainment. His frustration at not being able to push aside the rattle and clear the visual path, along with the undeveloped nature of his visual perception (seeing things in and out of focus) made a lasting impression. This impression, he feels, led to his ultimate interest in optically confusing images in photography, motivating many of his creative projects.
Allan received his first camera, an Argus, while attending secondary school. After attending Yale University 1956-61, majoring in History, he enrolled in Film School at NYU. Not content to merely pursue the academic context of photography and film, he left academia and began a process of extensive self-education, working on his own photographs.
In 1983 and 1988, Allan exhibited his own photography at the Marcuse Pfeiffer Gallery, New York and at the 666 Gallery in Paris. In 1979 he began to collect the work of other photographers. He gifted the majority of the collection to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston TX in 1993. A show entitled "Tradition and the Unpredictable: the Allan Chasanoff Photographic Collection" was exhibited in 1994. (Catalog available). The latter part of the collection was donated to the Yale Art Gallery, New Haven, CT which has scheduled a show, "First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography", for Oct. 2008 (Catalog available). Allan also collected contemporary ceramics, donating a significant collection to the Mint Museum of Arts and Design, Charlotte, NC. In 2001, the museum presented "Selections from the Allan Chasanoff Collection. (Catalog available). As well, Allan donated to the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., in 2004, the Chasanoff & Elozua Amazing Grace Collection, containing over 3000 versions of the song.
Allan continues to collect. Most important is the book art collection which
comprises of over 310 pieces of mainly sculptural pieces which utilize the
book itself as raw material to investigate the nature of the codex book
under pressure by the computer age. Allan also has a significant collection
of Russian posters dating from post World War II through the end of the
Soviet Union. Lastly he also collects neckties for personal reasons.
Allan has been extensively involved with digital technology since the advent of the first computer graphic systems. He has, in partnership with others, developed and created software and hardware and received several patents in the process. His current interests are still myriad, but are now centered in investigating the linkage between text and image as utilized in Japanese seals and the visual symbolism of photographic barn doors.
Raymon Elozua is a visual artist who resides and works in Mountaindale, New
York. His current project can be viewed at www.vanishingcatskills.us
Elizabeth Hansen is a video artist who resides and works in Brooklyn, New
York and Paris, France. Her current project is in post production.
Thanks to JoAnn Wasserman and Miho Suzuki for their assistance.
Thanks to Amanda Alic and Ethan Crenson of Red Shift Productions for the
design and creation of this web site.