Thursday, 22 January 2009

Jo Syz - Combining Craft and Concept


Full disclosure: Jo Syz is one of my oldest and dearest friends. But even if I didn't know him from Adam, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend his work. It's simply beautiful. 

Most interesting to me  is the way that he combines personal and political beliefs with the traditional craft of the photographer. Jo only shoots about subjects that he feels passionate about, and every image that he produces is shot on negative, then painstakingly processed and hand printed by the photographer himself. An increasingly rare occurrence in the digital age. 

This artisanal approach has the effect of adding a very personal layer onto the images. Jo's direct involvement with the process at all stages allows him to fully express his point of view, and the final prints are a pure representation of his photographic 'eye'.

His latest series, Coal River Mountain, is a project shot over three years in the strip mines of the Appalachian Mountains. Despite the frightening subject matter, which explores the ugly ways we are willing to exploit the planet for fuel, Jo has created images that are extremely beautiful and thought provoking.

Jo's work can be found at

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