Hartz-Alvarez Gallery

Artist's Statement

As a child growing up in Los Angeles, California, I began making family portraits in black and white with an old Kodak twin-lens reflex on 620 film. I still use these negatives for some of my current projects. I left photography aside for a while and went into painting. I began taking 35mm Kodachromes to use as a guide for my painting and soon realized I was getting more satisfaction from the photographic images than I was from the oils and acrylics.  I now do straight photography and several alternative processes, including  Polaroid image transfer and cyanotypes. One of my more recent projects involves larger Duratrans prints on salvaged auto parts. I have recently gone into digital storage, manipulationand printing in a big way.,

My images come mostly from my travels throughout the American West and Northern Mexico on family vacations. My work reflects my earlier interest in portraits and painting in that I seem to have developed a painterly style that for lack of a better description could be called "landscape-portraits". I endeavor to imbue a work with deep emotion and feeling, springing from the play of light, shadow, and color. Composition is very important to me, and I work to get the elements in the image in a kinetic relationship. My use of a polarizing filter and a wide-angle lens (20mm) lends a sense of vastness and loneliness to my work. I have very few people in my photographs, and I find myself drawn to old, weathered structures. My friends are all on the lookout for me to alert me to a dilapidated barn I may not have found yet.

I greatly admire the works of artists such as Edward Hopper, and photographers such as Walker Evans, John Sexton, Gary Winogrand, Richard Misrach, and Lee Friedlander, and their work has influenced the way I look at things. I shoot mostly color, but my colors are often muted, almost monochromatic. I also have a number of black and white negatives, a few of which are included in the Gallery.

My work is still evolving and I have only a dim idea of which direction it may take in the future. I find out what kind of artist I am by going back and looking at what I have done. I don't have a master plan, I just shoot what thrills me in the viewfinder.

I have recently acquired a film scanner and have begun a project which looms larger every time I think about it: I will cull all my slides and negatives and scan them to produce a digital archive. I have about 10,000 images, but only about 3,500 "favorites". As I get a few done, I will post them on the site.

August 1999

Since writing the above I have discovered kayaking and this has taken time I used to have for photography and this website, so the updates are coming slower than I had hoped. I think about it frequently when I am fishing in the kelp beds off La Jolla Shores. When the sea gets colder next fall I will try to make some changes here.

Thanks for visiting.

Jon Hartz
May 2001

Well, it is now fall 2004, and I just finished rebuilding the Gallery after my former host went away. Now I have my own domain, and a great local host, so things should be a lot more stable. Look for new Series' with the alternative process Cyanotype soon.

Jon Hartz
October, 2004

Hartz-Alvarez Gallery

click above to return to main page

Back to Top

To Resume