Dotti Chichon

"The Conversation"
First place Peninsula Images

Dotti Cichon was walking through Stanford Shopping Center with her cousin and his wife when she spotted a configuration of shapes that intrigued her.

She found herself drawn to the twisted rods and interwoven lines of a cluster of cafe tables and chairs. As she began framing the picture with her Minolta 700si, Cichon discovered a far more interesting image: the shadows of her companions against the building. Excited, Cichon switched her focus and reframed the shot to highlight her oblivious models.

"They were not posing," the Mountain View resident laughs.

This combination of preparedness and spontaneity are the hallmarks of Cichon's artistic impulses. Though her vocational path has been varied and seemingly unpredictable, her passion for taking pictures has endured. "Since I was 5, I've been photographing," she says. "I always carry a camera."

Cichon left her hometown just outside New York City to attend the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1960s. Though she arrived as a design major, she completed her undergraduate degree in premedical and psychology after the design department was abruptly dissolved.

Since then, she has attended graduate school in architecture (also at Berkeley), held jobs ranging from international flight attendant to real estate broker and currently owns a bed-and-breakfast in Poipu, Hawaii, which she has been managing for the past 12 years.

What Cichon would really like to do, however, is pursue photography full-time.

"The goal is by the end of this year," she says. If her deep love and commitment to her art are any indication, Cichon most likely will achieve her goal.

"It's my passion," she says. "My favorite thing to do is go out with my camera and take pictures. You can put me anywhere in the world with my camera and film and I'm never bored."

--Kate Manning