John Anderson

John Anderson
Teaching Lecturer / Photography

View Bio

Teaching Lecturer

BFA, Rhode Island School of Design

Bio and Artist Statement
My first exposure to photography as an expressive outlet was at summer camp. I was in the 6th grade and living in Worcester, Massachusetts and at YMCA summer camp where I was a counselor had a Nikon camera and a darkroom in one of the old cabins. I was hooked! Going home, I worked like mad to earn the money to buy a camera, using gifted antique equipment to create my first darkroom in the root cellar of our house. In junior high school, I took photography classes at the Worcester Art Museum. Working in high school at a local photography store to feed my craft, I only applied to one college, the Rhode Island School of Design, where as a freshman I only hesitated a moment when it came to declare a major. I was there to study photography. Out of college I made my way through a couple portrait studios until settling in Campton, NH, on Main Street where I opened my own studio out of my residence where I continue to work and live.

My art has always been quiet and peaceful. I continue to search out settings and places to record where I can find peace. Living in New Hampshire allows me to fulfill this search many times over. In order to be quiet and peaceful, one needs to be more than just running through the woods. It demands time: the time to observe, the time to reflect, the time to wait, the time to listen, the time to find, and, of course, the time to create.

A photographer’s job is to capture the decisive moment, and with today’s technology, and today’s rush and race, there is seldom time to slow down enough to enjoy all that Mother Nature puts before us. Using traditional media to create photographic works ensures that the pace becomes slower, and the work more intentional.

Using traditional equipment and supplies becomes a tactile experience. Loading and unloading film into film holders in the darkroom. Developing in large tanks of chemistry in pitch black with my fingers and memory my only windows to the world. Each frame takes on an exaggerated meaning for it is not just the cost of supplies, but the total commitment to the process. Large, heavy equipment, and slow, decisive use in the field and hours spent in the dark.

John Sexton says that the negative is the score, and the print is the performance. Like a performance, no two prints are every exactly the same, subtle nuance as the hand changes position through the printing process ensures that even though two prints may be made from the same negative, they are never exactly the same. Like twins, they may seem the same, but a good parent can tell them apart. This hands-on process of creating a photographic image is what attracts me. The digital tools, while named after the procedures from the darkroom, have a similar effect to the image, but don’t require the same amount of finesse, or personal involvement. Working magic on the computer is not nearly the same thing as there is working by hand, waiting to see what each adjustment will manifest itself into. This is the real magic as sleight of hand will make an indelible effect with the materials, revealed slowly through time and process.


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