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The Hidden World of the Nearby

John Wawrzonek


Biography

John Wawrzonek was born in Central Falls, Rhode Island in 1941. He received S.B., S.M., and E.E. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He began photographing while working in engineering and marketing at Bose Corporation in Framingham, Massachusetts. He was part of the start-up group at Bose and led its acoustic engineering, advertising and marketing efforts for several years as well as developing electronic systems for NASA.

Largely self-taught in photography, Wawrzonek started photographing under the guidance of Bela Kalman and studied briefly with Stephen Gersh of the Essex Photographic Workshop and Lauren Shaw of Emerson College. He also studied dye transfer printing with William Butler.

John has extensive experience in fine art printing beginning in 1978 with making dye transfer prints. He continued dye transfer printing until 1993 when Kodak stopped making the materials. Following dye transfer John became CEO of EverColor Fine Art specializing in unique pigment-transfer archival prints. EverColor continued operation until the mid-1990s when Agfa also discontinued the necessary materials used in the EverColor process.

Today John prints on an Epson P9000 archival ink jet (gigclée) 10-color printer. With 42 years experience in fine-art printing John’s prints are among the finest made today. The Boston Globe described John as a “virtuoso” for the quality of his work, comparing him to the finest musicians of the 20th century. He is also an accomplished classical pianist.

John operates his own fine art publishing company, LightSong® Fine Art, in Northborough, Massachusetts where he resides with his wife and son.


Books

Henry David Thoreau, Walking, 55 photographs by John Wawrzonek
The Nature Company, Berkeley, 1993 (seven printings)

Henry David Thoreau, The Illuminated Walden, 62 photographs by JohnWawrzonek,
Text edited by Dr. Ronald A. Bosco, Suny, Albany
Friedman/Fairfax, New York, 2002 (for Barnes & Noble), (two printings)


Feature articles

“Pike Pictures,” New England Monthly, October 1985

“Timeless River, New England Monthly, April 1986

“The Infinite Palette,” Country Journal, December 1988

“Dye Transfer Lives, The British Journal of Photography, August 28, 1987

Hemispheres Magazine (United Air Lines), September 1993

“Walking,” Walking Magazine, September 1993 Orion Magazine, Fall 1993


Artist’s Statement

My motivation for beginning to photograph was a love of nature and the excitement from seeing the extraordinary quality of dye transfer prints. I became interested in the possibilities of combining dye transfer printing with large format photography.

I wanted to avoid the influence of other photographer so in 1974 I simply began photographing the landscape with a 4x5 view camera. The first five years became a search for what affected me emotionally in the landscape.

My first discovery was a view of the tree canopy in springtime New England. It happend that the only place to photograph these trees was from elevated portions of Interstate 90 a few miles west of Boston. This was a unique vantage point that placed me as high as the tree canopy as well as close enough to photograph.

The trees in early spring became a pointillist ensemble of buds of various colors, some as brilliant as leaves in the fall. These images led me to seek other places and subjects where an ensemble of texture and color was the heart of the image.

My experiences gradually crystilized and I realized the images I most like to make lie in the space between vista and macro. I love subtle textures and an ambiguity of scale. In most images I deliberately avoid a prominent point of interest. I want the viewer to explore the image and to see the wonders of the details of nature. Images contain a horizon only if it contributes to completing the composition. I also try to make the image extend without diminution from corner to corner, as if cut from an infinite tapestry.

I try to encourage contemplation and a connection with nature with carefully rendered detail, what I call the “nature of nature.” The combinations and interactions of the common elements of light, wind, reflections, textures and the menisci when leaves lie on water or water droplets lie on leaves, puts me in touch with both the beauty and function of the detail.

I find my work almost invariably referred to as paintings. However, I have no intention of trying to create a “painterly” impression. I do however, have a goal of having the images not give themselves away as photographs by the limitations of the medium. Although grain, reduced detail and focus are completely legitimate in photography, I feel they are a distraction from my intentions.

One of my most important objectives is to have the image appear interesting from a distance and to have the interest build as the viewer approaches the print to the point that the texture and detail exceed what you can see at the closest distance you can focus your eyes. My body of work is fairly extensive which I think is to be expected after 35 years of photographing.

My choice of subject and place is not random. I have found that each has its own draw. Preferred subjects are the tree canopy, grasses, ground covers and whatever lies on the surface of water. Favorite places are a special pond or two, the unique vernal pool near Walden Pond known as Wyman’s Meadow, salt marshes, and the low-bush blueberry barrens of Maine.

My experience of finding my images in nearby and often heavily traveled locations led to the title of my colletion: The Hidden World of the Nearby.

I have created the galleries on my website to reflect my interests.

–John Wawrzonek, Northborough Massachusetts, March 2014



One Person Shows


The Center for Photography, St.Louis • Salisbury State University, Salisbury,
Maryland • Jackson Fine Arts, Atlanta • LaMar Dodd Art Center,
LaGrange College, Georgia • The Wrubel Gallery at the Nature Company, Berkeley, Cali- fornia, Concord, Massachusetts • TheSterlingMillWorks, Sterling,Massachusetts • The Firehouse Center, Newburyport, Massachusetts • Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, Massachusetts • Arthur Griffin Center for Photographic Art, Winchester, Massachusetts • The Grant Gallery, Denver • A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans • Evans Gallery, Portland, Maine • Th Photographer’s Gallery, PaloAlto • The Zullo Gallery, Medfield, Massachusetts • The Museum of the Hudson Highlands, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NewYork • Compton Gallery, MIT Museum • Chieftains Museum, Atlanta • Ginny Williams/Photographs, Denver • Doric Hall, Massachusetts State House • Cornerstone Associates, Waltham, Massachusetts • The Center for Photography, Saint Louis University of • Massachusetts, Worcester • Southborough Art Center, Southborough, Massachusetts • Galleria Il Diaframma, Milan, Italy • The Photographers’ Gallery, London • Afterimage Gallery, Dallas • Wilhelm Gallery, Houston • Cleveland Art Institute • Saint Botolph Club, Boston


Partial List of Collectors


Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University Elton John • Texaco • LaGrange College • Merrill Lynch • Apple Computer • First Boston Corporation • Chase Manhattan Bank • PanAgora Asset Management • Haikkado Bank • Danbury Printing and Litho • Polaroid • ArthurAnderson and Co. • Republic Bank of Dallas • New England Telephone • Macy’s • Bose Corporation • Sperry Rand • I.B.M. • Sony • Coca Cola • Governor and Mrs. Dukakis • Lady Bird Johnson • Shell Oil Company • Deloitte Touche • American Home Products • Exxon • Tony Bennett • Jackson Browne • Don Henley • Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Massachusetts • Massachusetts General Hospital • NewtonWellesley Hospital, Newton, Massachusetts • Marlborough Hospital, Marlborough, Massachusetts • University of Pennsylvania Hospitals • Kaiser Permanente Hospitals


Review Quotes


“...a mind bending treat...The prints vibrate with life, texture, detail and color.” “...captures nature with beauty, sensitivity, and a touch of the divine.” “...immaculately and elegantly viewed in magnificent visions.” “...images of vivid color and stunning beauty.” “...his photographs are breathtaking.” “The detail and color of these photographs draw the viewer almost hypnotically.” –Boston Globe --Art New England –Grand Rapids Press John Wawrzonek, Press Comments “...the artist’s sense of form, his selection of masses of color are painterly and vigorous.” “It is difficult to single out photographs that stand above others in this exhibition, but there are a few I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life with.” –Memphis Appeal “...a breathtaking collection of landscapes that might possibly change the way you think about landscape photography forever.” “...it is almost as though the scenes are being viewed through the eyes of an extrasensitive being.” –Arrive (New Orleans) “...you have transformed the routine into a magical moment, for I spend time in amazement, mystified, wondering how it was done. How is it you can see when I cannot?“...a mind bending treat...The prints vibrate with life, texture, detail and color.” What gift do you have and why has life not given me the same gift?... Yet how grateful I am for your vision for without it I would be cheated.” e-mail, March 2014, Walter Bala, photographer, Seattle

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