Chipperfield Original No. 45 is a photographic study of Hugh ‘Chip’ Chipperfield, a professional woodturner with over 35 years experience in the industry who also creates beautiful handmade guitars.
Chip began making guitars as a way to get his son Joe, an avid guitarist, interested in woodturning. He purchased a book on how to build your own guitar for Joe which was met with a polite interest, but little passion. For Chip, reading the through the book proved to be a catalyst for a then-undiscovered talent for guitar making.
In his spare time, Chip produces a small number of guitars each year, creating bespoke instruments for friends and local musicians. During this ‘extra career’ he has built almost every type of guitar; from traditional acoustics, to hard bodied electric models and even a harp for good measure.
My partner commissioned Chip to build me a guitar for my 30th birthday and I decided to document the entire process, from design consultation to completion of the guitar itself. I chose to have a walnut bodied resonator guitar made that would be a hybrid of the styles made by the National and Dobro guitar companies. It would be the 45th Chipperfield Original guitar.
I spent six sessions with Chip between November 2015 and February 2016 documenting the making of my guitar and I felt privileged to witness almost every stage and process involved in its creation. Each photograph stands alone as an intimate portrait of Chip’s skill and love for the instruments he builds.
My aim was to capture the essence of guitar making, a generations-old practice I was unaware still existed in modern Britain. I hope that my images can raise awareness of the craft and continue to support and keep it alive.