Artist-photographer Jon Linton believes art is life and so it’s hard for him to distinctly qualify when he knew art was his calling. He sees everything as art––from the glow of a desert sunset to a well-designed pen to an automobile. And perhaps it’s that eye and attention to detail that has made him so masterful in his craft.
Prior to the Celebration of Fine Art, Jon had been producing a body of street work and operating a project called “I Have A Name”. The subject matter––individuals living on the streets––however, was deeply painful. To find respite, he began seeking quiet, serene landscapes to photograph. Shot with no intention of sharing, these personal black and white photographs ended up having a strong resonance with a few who saw them and he was encouraged to share them with a broader audience.
Today, Jon continues to create his breathtaking black and white photography, but is always looking for ways to push the envelope, which he inevitably does simply by allowing an unfolding moment to direct his work.
Read on for more of Jon’s story and journey as a photographer.
When did you know art was your calling?
I’ve done a lot of things in my life. I owned an art magazine here in Arizona for the better part of about a dozen years. I transferred into full-time photography about eight years ago but I’ve been taking pictures since I was a kid. It’s a hard answer to qualify.
What do you love most about creating art?
I’d humbly offer that art shows up everywhere in our lives––from the design of a pair of shoes to a pen or a coffee cup or automobiles––everything has shape, form, and design. Art is life, in my view. That’s particularly true with photography. It marks a moment in time. For me, it’s very personal. When I look at one of my photographs, it takes me right back to that moment when I made that piece of art and it’s stamped forever in me.
What challenges you the most about your work?
I think for most creatives, we’re our own biggest critics. For me, the challenge lies in trying to create work that excites me and keeps me interested. I’m continually trying to create a piece of art where I’m not complacent about what I’m making and where I’m constantly pushing the envelope.
What inspires your work?
I studied with a man in New Mexico who was a master photographer and he taught me to be mindful of my surroundings. When I’m in a setting, whether it’s a city that I’m taking photographs in or a landscape that I’m trying to make, I try to be very mindful of my surroundings. Maybe I think something is the shot, but I still look around because maybe there’s something else there that I didn’t anticipate.
I have a piece called “The Road I Walk” and it was photographed strictly by chance. I went to a location to shoot a certain subject matter and ended up creating this piece instead. I’m very mindful of not only the work that I intend to take but also the work that might be the unintended consequence of being somewhere.
What drew you to the Celebration of Fine Art?
I have a body of street work called “I Have A Name”. I’ve taken a lot of street photography but this body of work is very painful to participate in. It’s photographs of people that are living on the street. I started taking photographs in quiet places as a way to really just find some emotional restoration for the pain that the street photography was creating. I was taking pictures of the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Ship Rock, New Mexico. These were pictures in quiet places just for me. I didn’t intend on anybody seeing them but I showed them to Susan [Morrow Potje, show director] and she said, “I think we might have a place for you.” This is a special place. It’s changed my life. I didn’t anticipate being here and I could not be more grateful than I am.