Twosomes is Chester’s first book in 25 years. The concept was an outgrowth of “Twosomes and Then Some,” a series of low-key shows Chester held in venues in Denver and San Francisco, where he lived before moving to the Cape. He noticed a pattern: Even though they might have been captured independently of another with several decades between them, certain photographs seemed to have a natural counterpart elsewhere in his portfolio. Some of the connections were easy to draw, like the coupling of a man talking on a pay phone, his head buried under a hood, juxtaposed against a pig burrowing his head into a pail. Some are more ethereal. Ultimately, all of the 104 pairings in the book are inseparable.
Chester’s work caught the attention of Michael Giaquinto, exhibitions curator for Cape Cod Museum of Art. “I think he see things with control and firmness,” says Giaquinto. “He captures the instant, and then he moves on.”
Giaquinto selected 24 pairings for the museum’s Twosomes exhibit. Each image pairing is presented as a diptych of two photos secured in a single frame: Viewers see Al Sharpton’s visage broadcast on a giant screen from the 2004 Democratic National Convention alongside a street performer in New York’s Battery Park framing his head with the façade of a television. The images are usually quirky, but they can also be poignant, touching, or thought-provoking depending on the eye of the beholder, Chester says.
One of the photographs in the exhibit depicts a man with hard lines chiseled into his elderly face, holding a set of too-small binoculars to his eyes. He’s almost indistinguishable except, perhaps, to those who know him already. (In Twosomes, the image is presented alongside a photo of a man wearing several sets of eyeglasses, playing the ancient Asian board game Go.)