John Delaney Statement

Artist Statement

What do we lose when an ancient culture disappears and centuries of tradition are abandoned and forgotten?

For me, photography has become a way to speak out against this passing. It is a way to record an existence that may soon vanish, to try to capture some of what makes a people unique, not just in appearance, but also in spirit.

The method and style of my photography is very traditional. My equipment has changed little in over a century. I travel with a large format wood view camera and a portable studio tent. My traveling studio not only controls the light but also serves as a common meeting ground in which my subjects present themselves. I give little direction and I let serendipity rule the moment. I try to make a portrait that reveals something beneath the obvious: a sense of grace, nobility, humanity, or even just simple wonder. My hope is to honor my subject in a simple un-patronizing and respectful way.

The images that are captured on film come to life for me in the darkroom. Irving Penn once said, “A beautiful print is a thing in itself, not just a halfway house on the way to the page”. I love to play with a negative to create a print that is full of the light, textures and depths of expression that I experienced in the field. The result should be an image that not only tells a story about its subject, but also is beautiful object in itself.

I cannot stop the passing but I hope in a small way to maybe capture a moment before it fades away.

Process Statement
I shoot mainly with a large format wooden view camera. I also like to work with a Rollei twin lens and a Mamiya 7. All my images are made with natural light.

I am a B&W printer by trade, so I print my own work. All are toned archival silver gelatin prints.

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