Photographer. Will travel.
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Tom Jones Photography
All my adult life I have pursued the arts of poetry and photography. I was fortunate to study photography with the distinguished photographer, Harold Feinstein, who was also a great teacher. In New York’s Greenwich Village (1969), he taught that everyone has her own unique vision, and he helped each of us to search for that vision by encouraging and enabling us to go out and photograph whatever appealed to our eye. Within three weeks, shooting for pennies a shot, we were rolling our own film (Tri-X 400 ASA black and white pushed to 800 processed in Diafine), printing our own contact sheets and dodging and burning images for the class. Harold found something to praise in every student’s photo, and every student produced work I admired.
I shot black and white film almost exclusively for the first ten years, influenced by New York street-shooting and especially Henri Cartier-Bresson. In 1979 I completed Madmen and Bassoons, a manuscript of 67 pages of poems, each juxtaposed with one or two of my black and white photographs. One of my poet-readers, Josephine Jacobsen, former Poetry Consultant Library of Congress, wrote: "It is a stunning manuscript…. There is a sense of risk and excitement in the book…. These magnificent pictures don’t illustrate in the usual sense—they respond." (Letter, April 18, 1979). However, in 1980 the publisher was declared bankrupt, and Madmen and Bassoons was published sans photos (Writers Workshop, Calcutta, India 1990). Phoebe, the George Mason Review, published six of my black and white photographs (1980), but otherwise I often chose to create rather than publish.
This year (2017), my tenth collection of poems, Beyond Existentialism, was published by FootHills Publishing, Kanona, New York (foothillspublishing.com): the book will feature a selection of my black and white photographs facing a selection of my published poems. FootHills publisher Michael Czarnecki, also a published poet and photographer, also published my ninth poetry collection, Nearing Palenque / Reflections on Native America (2012).
Since 1980, I have worked in both color and black and white. I studied color photography at Your Mind’s Eye, Falls Church, Virginia (1985-86). One of my color photographs, “Japanese Women, Flowers from Japan,” was jury-selected for the Beijing, China--Washington, D.C. Sister City Exhibition, Beijing (1985) and the Willow Gallery, Washington, D.C. (1987). A portfolio of six of my color photographs paired with poems, “Fire and Ice,” was published in Wisconsin Trails Magazine (1987) as well as a 1987 Wisconsin Trails Calendar Photo, “Hardwater Sailors on Green Lake.”
After 22 years teaching, writing and living on the Navajo Nation, in 2014 I retired from teaching to devote full time to photography and poetry., Since then eleven of my photographs have been selected by ten different jurors for ten different international open call exhibitions .