THE HUMAN PULSE:

Global Photography of John Elliott

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Photographer’s Statement

For this series on the universality of humanity, I seek dynamic or interrelated movements of people within the depth of physical space.  There may be the pulse of youthful freedom and exuberance, which adds spontaneity or joy to the captured moment; conversely, there may be a sense of reflection by the subject.

I want to know more about the cultural or social conditions I encounter and strive, through my selection of venues and scenes, to capture the interest of the audience.  In some of the images there is an ambiguity of event or action, which elicits curiosity.  I believe questions are often just as important as answers.

The angle at which the scene is captured is important to me.  I strive for viewpoints that often appear in my dreaming state: floating somewhat above, sometimes even at a great distance, but still connected to the moment.

(Images are exhibited at least 51 cm (20″) wide and most originated on medium format film.)

See excerpt of Photographer's 2009 Lecture
     Link to book (2016 edition)

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Photographer’s Statement

While wandering around Oaxaca, Mexico in the early ‘80s I became aware of the subtle but perceptible emotions that the faded adobe and stucco walls exuded. Thus began the “Walls/Spaces” series. Not only did these walls provide a cultural and geographical referent, but they often offered a metaphor that transcended their place and time.  I immediately liked the sense of timelessness I discovered and believe it is this which allows these scenes to become more universal.

Ancient peoples and present indigenous societies have always believed that life is everywhere––even in inanimate objects. This series vivifies that timeless mindset. I find it both challenging and rewarding to draw inspiration from objects and areas taken for granted by passers-by. And if walls and outdoor spaces are often “open” in the sense of public exhibition, they are also open for interpretation.

The series is divided into two parts: Metonymy and Milieu. The former is a figure of speech that uses the name of an object or concept in place of another relationship.  In the latter part, the documentary aspects of the milieu in the photos override the metonymy.

A wall is an obstruction; or a bridge; or a window. Upon her face are etched the marks of man: quotidian efforts, birth, war, decay. The family of walls includes sister fence, brother stone and the sundry open and confined spaces. I enjoy looking at and presenting the myriad permutations of this theme. Sometimes a metaphor springs to mind, or simply a reflection of conditions– of mine, time and the anonymous Others. The walls and spaces I ultimately choose to interpret are the ones that speak to me.

    LINK TO BOOK (2016 edition)
2016 edition

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

This was Elliott’s earliest complete series and the first one he pursued in depth. He discontinued the series after just three years, later stating, “We are all victims at some time. I became increasingly concerned that in many image, I was biasing perceptions of the subjects. But the series remains an cogent example of the fine line between documentary and interpretive photography.”

Some of the images were an entrée into the subsequent and more fully-formed “Human Pulse” series. The visual influences for “Victims” includes photography of Diane Arbus, Weegee, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard. It was shot in black-and-white film and all images were traditionally darkroom printed.

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

Elliott’s scenic, commercial, and portrait images have been published since 1978 in numerous magazines and have garnered international awards.

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

GHOST RIDERS: An introspective series photographed and digitally enhanced from 2017-2019,
empathetic to the quotidian experiences of passengers on Washington DC public transportation.

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

In December, 2021, John traveled throughout Cuba for nearly a month, documenting the challenges facing the people there as they bravely tackle COVID-19. The pandemic has exacerbated the woes brought on by a decades-old economic blockade by the United States, which has continued to impoverish the island nation of 12 million.

The Human Pulse

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

For this series on the universality of humanity, I seek dynamic or interrelated movements of people within the depth of physical space.  There may be the pulse of youthful freedom and exuberance, which adds spontaneity or joy to the captured moment; conversely, there may be a sense of reflection by the subject.

I want to know more about the cultural or social conditions I encounter and strive, through my selection of venues and scenes, to capture the interest of the audience.  In some of the images there is an ambiguity of event or action, which elicits curiosity.  I believe questions are often just as important as answers.

The angle at which the scene is captured is important to me.  I strive for viewpoints that often appear in my dreaming state: floating somewhat above, sometimes even at a great distance, but still connected to the moment.

(Images are exhibited at least 51 cm (20″) wide and most originated on medium format film.)

See excerpt of Photographer’s 2009 Lecture

Walls and Spaces

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

While wandering around Oaxaca, Mexico in the early ‘80s I became aware of the subtle but perceptible emotions that the faded adobe and stucco walls exuded. Thus began the “Walls/Spaces” series. Not only did these walls provide a cultural and geographical referent, but they often offered a metaphor that transcended their place and time.  I immediately liked the sense of timelessness I discovered and believe it is this which allows these scenes to become more universal.

Ancient peoples and present indigenous societies have always believed that life is everywhere––even in inanimate objects. This series vivifies that timeless mindset. I find it both challenging and rewarding to draw inspiration from objects and areas taken for granted by passers-by. And if walls and outdoor spaces are often “open” in the sense of public exhibition, they are also open for interpretation.

The series is divided into two parts: Metonymy and Milieu. The former is a figure of speech that uses the name of an object or concept in place of another relationship.  In the latter part, the documentary aspects of the milieu in the photos override the metonymy.

A wall is an obstruction; or a bridge; or a window. Upon her face are etched the marks of man: quotidian efforts, birth, war, decay. The family of walls includes sister fence, brother stone and the sundry open and confined spaces. I enjoy looking at and presenting the myriad permutations of this theme. Sometimes a metaphor springs to mind, or simply a reflection of conditions– of mine, time and the anonymous Others. The walls and spaces I ultimately choose to interpret are the ones that speak to me.

Ghost Riders

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

GHOST RIDERS: An introspective series photographed and digitally enhanced from 2017-2019,
empathetic to the quotidian experiences of passengers on Washington DC public transportation.

Global Vistas

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Photographer’s Statement

Elliott’s scenic, commercial, and portrait images have been published since 1978 in numerous magazines and have garnered international awards.

Victims Series

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

This was Elliott’s earliest complete series and the first one he pursued in depth. He discontinued the series after just three years, later stating, “We are all victims at some time. I became increasingly concerned that in many image, I was biasing perceptions of the subjects. But the series remains an cogent example of the fine line between documentary and interpretive photography.”

Some of the images were an entrée into the subsequent and more fully-formed “Human Pulse” series. The visual influences for “Victims” includes photography of Diane Arbus, Weegee, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard. It was shot in black-and-white film and all images were traditionally darkroom printed.

Cuba in the COVID Era

View gallery

Photographer’s Statement

In December 2021, John traveled throughout Cuba for nearly a month, documenting the challenges facing the people there as they bravely tackle COVID-19. The pandemic has exacerbated the woes brought on by a decades-old economic blockade by the United States, which has continued to impoverish the island nation of 12 million.