I am an enduring conviction that photojournalism can be art. Through the centuries, many artists have told stories through the events captured on their canvases. From Yokoyama Taikan’s inspiring White Clouds Longing for Spring, to J.M.W. Turner’s brilliant Snow Storm—Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, the portrayal of natural events, not just static landscapes, has long been a focus of enlightened painters worldwide. The camera can afford the same, despite its propensity to make exacting reproductions. So I explore our planet with camera in hand and child in mind, always seeking its stories. It has many to tell. From mountain summits to high altitude aircraft, my favored perspective is an aerial one, allowing me to be immersed in my subject. Here, I see the land as the atmosphere does. I watch the elements collide with the terrain in a way that simply can’t be appreciated from the surface. In this regard, aerial photography is the dream of both the artist and the scientist, albeit with consequences.
The Earth has extraordinary color. However, its myriad of hues can be over-stimulating and distracting. As such, my work is monochromatic, exploring Matisse’s “queen of all colors.” But my minimalism doesn’t end there. My ontology is one of simplicity, and I keep it real at every step in my process.
Thank you for visiting,
Jon Van de Grift, ASMP