I am an enduring conviction that photojournalism can be art. For over a thousand years, artists have endeavored to tell 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, many paintings have portrayed more than just static landscapes. The camera can afford the same, despite its propensity for making 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 and high altitude aircraft, 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 below. In this regard, aerial photography is an artist’s dream, 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, and please be in touch.
Jon Van de Grift, ASMP