EWW: What is the most memorable comment you’ve ever received about your artwork?
John: Because I sell my photographs at juried art shows, I hear a lot of comments. The one that I like most is when people say, “Oh, it feels so serene in here.”, as they enter my booth. However, my all-time favorite comment came from a little girl talking to her father about a piece titled “Reeds” (which can be found on my website). She told her dad, “It looks like one of those dead, dried-out spiders you find in the basement in the winter-time.”
EWW: How did you get started as a photographer?
John: I bought my wife a digital camera for her birthday in 2004. I subsequently “borrowed” that camera to take on a fishing trip to Alaska so I could show her how beautiful Alaska was. When I got back home and saw the results of my efforts I thought, “Wow, I didn’t know I could do that”. Today, I realize that those pictures were either beginner’s luck, or more likely, just the incredible beauty of Alaska. In any case, I was hooked. It took two years of study (reading photography and Photoshop books), and hours spent pointing a camera at anything that struck my fancy before I began to get results that even today I find pleasing.
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EWW: Excluding subject matter, are there themes that consistently run from one work to the other such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
John: As an artist, my primary goal is to create work that provokes an emotional response. The mood I try to consistently invoke is one of calmness, serenity, tranquility … perhaps the Japanese word “wa” describes it best. I find the soft luminance and pastel color of early morning light goes a long way to engender that mood.
Visually, nature can be quite chaotic. Locating the simple compositions that I prefer is challenging; but I find them to be very rewarding. The elegance, the poetic beauty of simplicity leads naturally to feelings of balance and harmony.
For me, color is nearly as important as composition. I am particularly attracted to the pastel color palette. I have numerous photographs that I think are technically good photographs, but if the color isn’t right then the photograph isn’t right.
EWW: Do you think it is important for photographic artists to have their own website, in addition to appearing on other art gallery websites?
John: Today it is a virtual requirement for artists/photographers to have their own website. Customers expect it and industry professionals expect it.
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EWW: What advice would you give to emerging photographers about the business of being an artist?
John: If you are an amateur, just make photographs that please you. If you are a professional, or if you aspire to be, it is not enough to create great images, you must know how to market and sell your work if you want to be successful. As much as you might want them to, your images will not sell themselves.
EWW: Do you use social media platforms to market and promote your work? If you do use social media platform seems, which one(s) work the best for you?
John: I am on Facebook. I use it to show select photographs to gauge the reaction to images I am considering placing in my booth. While I may love a given image, I don’t want to take up scarce wall space in my booth for images with limited appeal.
EWW: Do you have any current or upcoming art projects or new series and if so, what are they?
John: I have two ongoing series, “At Water’s Edge” and “Chasing Fog”, which I actively work on. They reflect my love of both water and fog (which is really water in a different state). Water, a shapeless, colorless substance, makes a beautiful mirror for the shapes and colors around it. Fog is rich in mood; it is the atmosphere that creates ”atmosphere”.