From travels and work in more than 60 nations, it’s only natural that John Elliott pursues his photographic vision on a global scale. He has a fine arts degree in Photography from Ohio University, minors in International Studies and Spanish, and received advanced studies in Arabic at Harvard University and in Media Production at the Foreign Service Institute. Elliott was formerly a photojournalism teacher at The Art Institute of Atlanta and was for more than 15 years the creative director for an Atlanta area advertising agency.
Elliott, whose influences include the medieval paintings of Hironomous Bosch and 20th century photography of Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson, began his photography career even as a teenager as a freelance newspaper photographer. During college semester breaks, he completed assignments for Revista Geomundo as a magazine photojournalist in Guatemala and Mexico.
Serving for five years as Field Director for AidWEST Humanitarian Missions, he led three teams to earthquake-stricken Haiti in 2010. He also was president of the Greater Atlanta Interfaith Alliance for five years in the ‘90s, which furthered his understanding of diverse cultures and philosophies. In both his creative output and volunteer work he strives for “the goal of universality, tolerance, compassion and human bond.
Although Elliott began working on individual images for “The Human Pulse” more than three decades ago, it wasn’t until 2007 that the series actually debuted, at Atlanta’s famed Callanwolde Gallery. The seminal and ongoing series encompasses images of human diversity and social issues from around the world.
“I seek dynamic movements of humans or groups, within the depth of physical space, Elliott says. In the images for this series there may be the pulse of youth and spontaneity; conversely there may be a sense of reflection or even conflict that embodies various social issues.
From exhausted laborers in an Indian blast furnace, to young Haitian earthquake victims, to joyful mud wrestlers in southern USA, he is adept at capturing the essence of milieu and mindset. The series is ongoing and has been exhibited internationally and at major art galleries in the USA.
The “Walls and Spaces” Series, also ongoing, began in the 1980s and captures highly idiosyncratic visual vistas, extracting character from carefully composed and often minimalist interactions. Elliott comments, “I find it to be both challenging and rewarding to draw inspiration from objects and background areas taken for granted by passers-by. Sometimes a metaphor springs to mind, or simply a reflection of conditions–of mine, time and the anonymous Others.”
His images from a briefly worked series, Victims, have appeared in national magazines and in galleries in NYC, Ohio, Miami and Atlanta. And his scenic, commercial and portrait images have garnered international awards for more than 25 years. Elliott’s most recent series, “Ghost Riders” (2016-2020), is perhaps his most technically diverse opus, and documents passengers on public transportation in the Washington, DC area.
USA expositions have been in South Florida (1974), New York City (1978), Ohio (1979), Georgia (1996-2009), and Saudi Arabia (2016). A seminal and very well received international exposition of both The Human Pulse and Walls and Spaces was his 2013 solo show at Academia Brasileira de Letras, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.