Photographer, Bay Area
Jonathan Ball was first exposed to photography watching his father work in a homemade darkroom in the family basement. By age eleven, he was making and developing his own photographs. Spanning photojournalism to commercial work, his projects also include independent art projects including a study of mobile dwellings in which he photographed factories making mobile homes, RV’s, and sailing yachts. Born and raised in suburban Maryland, Ball holds a B.A. in art history from Stanford, J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Master’s of Urban Planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Ball lives and works in Oakland, California. His work is exhibited on both coasts and held in numerous private and corporate collections.
What is the most interesting thing about photography as an art form?
To me, what’s interesting about photography as an art form is the same as what’s interesting about photography per se: that its essence is so simple. The defining feature of nearly every photograph is the specific time a camera was placed in a specific location. This combination of time and place seems so simple and straightforward, and it is. But it’s also infinitely complex and variable and creates an enormously expressive medium.
Who has inspired your photo style?
There are many photographers whose work I admire and whose work has one way or another, influenced what I do. Time and time again, however, I return to two favorites: William Eggleston and Bill Owens.
Whats new with your work? Any upcoming shows or events?
Lots! I’m opening a new gallery in Oakland, California (on 17th Street between Broadway and Telegraph). First opening will be on the evening of December 2, to coincide with the Oakland Art Murmur. I’m launching a new company that will publish fine art photo-books; first books to be released in 2012. I also continue to make photos; work continues on Things You May Have Missed, a series that’s been ongoing for nine years now. I will also soon begin work on a new series dealing with families and suicide. (These works can be seen on Jon’s site.)
I’ve been taking pictures since I was a pretty young kid. My dad had a darkroom in the basement of our house, so I grew up watching him and my older brother developing film and making prints. I took my first photo class in 7th grade and have been pretty much hooked ever since. In college, I was introduced to the view camera and began to pursue more artistic projects. After college, I worked for a while as a freelance assistant to various commercial photographers. Now, my work is a combination of artwork and commercial work. It’s a great mix.