Our interview for this month’s Artist Focus is with Jon Glaser, an American photographer capturing the beauty of nature on film. His photos have a calm stillness to them, even though the clouds might have been billowing past and the water rushing through. The instant each photo was snapped is frozen in time with a delicateness that captures both the wildness and sensitivity of our world's most beautiful places.
When did your love of photography first begin?
I first picked up a camera as a child and was an avid photographer through high school. I re-introduced myself to the art when I became a dentist, using my skill to document dental cases. It became a passion again while my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Sedona, AZ.
What's one of the first great photos you remember taking?
I was in Grand Teton National Park and remember the clouds were moving rather quickly. I decided to set up my camera for a long exposure. It took a few tries, but I was amazed at the final product I produced.
Who are some of your photography idols, and would you say they played a role in the formation of your own work?
I have worked with quite a few master photographers, including Jack Wild, Andy Cook, Lee Gordon, and Vincent Versace, all of who have influenced my photographic process. Lee Gordon was instrumental in helping me technically achieve my personal style, while Vincent Versace introduced me to the use of colors, shades and sharpness to bring a viewer into an image and allow them to travel through it.
What is it about a landscape that particularly inspires you to photograph it?
I hear music when I see a landscape worthy of a photograph. It is similar to a symphony playing, with the music getting louder, building to the ultimate crescendo as the shutter is released and the image is captured.
How does living in Delray Beach affect your work and the photos you take?
As a resident of Delray Beach, I have been able to take advantage of training and relationship-building with some wonderful instructors and colleagues. There is a great camaraderie among artists, and I am honored to be a signature member of the Boca Raton Museum of Arts Artist’s Guild, where I have both exhibited and lectured.
What sorts of moods do you try to convey with your photographic art?
When someone looks at my work, I want them to have a sense of being at that place, and experiencing the moment of capture. I want them to have the same grandiose feeling I had while taking the image.
Do you have any specific routines or habits necessary in the creation of your work?
I do a lot of research online before traveling to a destination. I will use Google Earth and look at other images from that region to scope out potential spots to photograph, capturing them in a different and unique way that incorporates my own style.
What is one of your favorite quotes about art, and how do you see it applying to your own work?
Ansel Adams said, “The negative is the sheet music. The print is the symphony.” With the onset of digital photography, we have to liken the negative of Adams’ world with the image the camera initially captures. My photographic work reflects a comprehensive workflow that involves many tools (camera, computer, printer) that help me create the image I saw in my mind’s eye when I pressed the shutter.
Where have you traveled to take your photographs, and what's one of your favorite places to visit?
I have been to Canada, Iceland and quite a number of National Parks across the United States. My favorite locations to date are Banff National Park and Iceland. Both were filled with blue glacial water, offering surreal images naturally. A few people have mistaken the saturated colors for over-processing… There is quite a bit of time involved – and miles logged -- but it is well worth it!
If you had to give one piece of advice to students just graduating art school, what would it be?
Be patient when learning and develop your own style. It’s a process that will come with time and develop intuitively.