When I used to see or hear the words BLACK AND WHITE, I assumed that is all I would see. There was little to anticipate in that. But then I began to take black and white photographs, and I realized in my photographs I could capture tones and shades of grays that held warmth, emotion, and depth.
Shooting in black and white allows me to isolate without the distraction of color composition subtle details of texture, of light, of space. I found that I could focus a viewer of my work into the eyes of a subject, to perhaps allow those viewers to look as differently upon the world in which they lived as I might. I noticed objects and scenes that were obscure before, and made me realize I had been missing large parts of the world around me.
My photography illuminates things that the are easily overlooked. It is urban and industrial in tone. Rather than offering a wider view of an entire edifice, I use my lens to look at details, offering a play of reflection, light, and shadow that happens naturally when someone is walking past the same building looking it up and down. My lens attempts to freeze that moment when a viewer first notices something unique but might not have time to stop and take proper note.
Joseph O’Neill was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1965. He has no formal education in art, but did study to become a chef. In the process of becoming a chef, he was forced to develop the habit of trying, tasting, and experiencing things in a different way.
He has been an active photographer throughout the last decade, but only began exhibiting in 2012. Because he is self taught, he is never afraid to try different techniques. His photography has been influenced first by the works of Eugene Atget, and later by Man-Ray. His earlier work in photography was an unplanned documenting of things that are taken for granted as he passed them. Since deliberately moving toward photography as fine art, he has been experimenting more with architectural abstracts and nude studies. His work has appeared in numerous group and solo exhibitions around the world, predominately in New York City and Europe. Has been published in art journals, and art magazines, digitally and in print. His work is on display in the U.S. Embassies in Oman and Latvia, and is an active member of one of New York City’s oldest artist collective, The Pleiades Gallery.
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