More information about my galleries is coming this week.
I am an enduring conviction that photojournalism is art. For over a thousand years, artists have endeavored to illustrate the Earth's natural events on their canvases. From Yokoyama Taikan’s inspiring Mountain after a Shower, to J.M.W. Turner’s brilliant Snow Storm—Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, many artistic works have portrayed more than just static landscapes. The camera can afford the same, despite its propensity for making exacting reproductions, often with extraordinary palettes. This myriad of hues is captivating, but it can also be distracting. As such, my work is monochromatic, exploring Renoir’s “queen of all colors.” But my minimalism doesn’t end there.
Although a photograph should always represent an artist’s unique vision, it should also be honest. Today, artists have unprecedented control in image development. Wielding this power to create photographic illustrations that appear as photographs is misleading. We must not forget that with power comes responsibility. Therefore, I use a “pure process” approach that focuses on the natural flow of energy between myself and the environment, and not on manipulation. This process emphasizes previsualization before capture, and organic tonal adjustments during development. This means that my photographs are minimally developed for exposure only, and no content is ever added or removed from a scene. When I capture an image, I never use filters or special effects lenses. Finally, I make my film and digital negatives available for viewing at select exhibits. To me, this is photographic integrity.
Aircraft have a significant impact on our atmosphere through their emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Currently, over 3% of anthropogenic climate change is caused by aircraft emissions and this percentage is expected to increase as air travel increases. So I never fly for the purpose of making photographs. Rather, I've just decided to not waste the window seat. Back on the ground, I take daily action to minimize my overall contribution.
The most effective way to reduce pollution is to not produce it. My daily commute involves only walking and mass transit. When I must drive, I only do so in low emissions vehicles and I combine trips. To help offset my emissions, I pay a voluntary carbon offset tax. My studio uses a maximum of 250 watts of electricity, thanks to efficient computer processors, LED lighting, etc. I purchase used items whenever possible to lessen my consumption of raw materials, packaging, and shipping. My philosophy is to repair, not replace, and to only upgrade my equipment when necessary. My studio produces about four liters of landfill waste every six months because nearly everything I use is recycled, repurposed, sold, or donated for future use. To me, all this isn’t enough. So I teach courses in environmental science, geography, and atmospheric science because the first step in solving environmental problems is raising awareness.
All images and text in this website are Copyright © Jon Van de Grift and may not be used without permission.