In our previous post we profiled Julie Lea – a fine painter from far-away Bequia. Today, we will bring you closer to our roots – photography. We also return closer to our home – Victoria, BC, Canada. Right here, at our doorstep in Victoria, you can meet one of the finest, most outstanding photographers we know. It’s Jon Hoadley – a real master of studio art photography. Working in the same studio space since 1984, he can be compared to the great Dutch or Italian painters of the past centuries.
Perhaps the most visually arresting aspect of Jon’s work is his masterful use of light and shade. He is a virtuoso of chiaroscuro and “shading” – creating depth by using light effects. Shadow and light are powerfully contrasted and used in different degrees, subtle or strong. They are deliberately interwoven to give the work spatial and psychological depth and to create an atmospheric mood. On the human body, chiaroscuro makes a very powerful effect.
Had Jon been born a painter in Italy in the early 17th century, he would easily be one of the followers of Caravaggio, a master of powerful chiaroscuro, whose use of light to create dramatic intensity inspired generations of artists often called “Tenebrists” or “Tenebrosi” (“Shadowists”). Jon’s work often reminds me of other paintings by famous masters of light, like the 17th century Spanish painters, with Jose de Ribera among them. Perhaps Jon doesn’t always seek such strong dramatic effects. The light in his art portraits is often used to create a broader and more intimate union between figure and space.
Similar in feel to fine paintings, Jon’s portraits are carefully composed and stylized. Only the photographers themselves and models (sometimes exhausted after the process) know how much time and energy consuming such shoots are; how much care, and – clearly, love – goes into their preparation and each actual photo session. Not to mention hours of digital work afterwards “to get the image right.” And yet, Jon’s photographs don’t appear to be that heavily staged and controlled. Models are given freedom of expression within the boundaries of the image. That gives us, the viewers, a glimpse into their true personalities, each different and unique. It also creates a psychological bond, touching directly the viewer’s soul, a rare feature in art of portraiture today.
Obsessed with fine nuances of light and forms of the human body (be it in portraits, art nudes, or other styles), Jon Hoadley works tirelessly expanding his huge collection of masterpieces. Digital photography gave him much needed expansion of editing tools.
Earlier back, he worked very successfully on the international commercial scene, photographing for renowned brands; but although his photographs were winning awards, he was never really interested in that or in any competitions.
Same with his self-promotion – rather than making efforts to promote and market himself, he uses all his energy and time to create ever new images. For those reasons, Hoadley’s works are relatively little known – but they stand really strong among the best of art portraits on the international scene – real masterpieces, fit for the finest collections. His best, heart-and-mind-touching art, selected for limited editions, can be displayed proudly by the most discerning connoisseurs.
See more works by Jon at www.modelmayhem.com
Browse and order his art prints at Photo Gallery Vibrante
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Until next time!
Text by Margaret Gajek, art historian, researcher, writer
and by Derek Galon, photographer
Images – copyright Jon Hoadley – please respect his copyright.
Jon Hoadley contemplating Zen of Perfect Lighting