Joanne Mason dates her interest in Photography to the gift of a small camera from her grandmother many years ago. Today, after retiring from a career in education, her enthusiasm for both creating and viewing fine-art photography is as strong as ever. She is mostly self-taught; her work has benefitted from several highly valued teachers and mentors, among them Elise Shapiro at The Silvermine School of Art; and Howe Derbyshire (alas, now deceased) of Port Clyde, Maine. She uses Fuji cameras. Her work is focused mostly on elements of nature, but her interests are sufficiently broad that the occasional cityscape or architectural image shows up. Her work is in private collections, and she has published Landscapes of the American Southwest and Visions of Nature.
Photography is unique among the arts in that it can both document nature while at the same time challenging our perception of it. My view agrees with that of the early 20th Century critic and philosopher Viktor Shklovsky (*) – The purpose of art is to render the familiar as unfamiliar, and in so doing lead to new ways of seeing. This idea is especially apt for nature photography. I try to capture the transcendent beauty of nature. But I’m also interested in exploring the colors, shapes, textures, forms in scenes. Often, the image from the camera is just the beginning; then the real fun begins with post-capture work in the lab, manipulating those textures and shapes and colors.
Most of all, I seek to produce images that are meant to be seen, to be looked at and reflected upon, to engage with a viewer and stimulate feelings of beauty, of happiness (or sadness and melancholy), or elation or deep pleasure.
(*) Shklovsky’s term for this process is defamiliarization (Ostranenie in Russian). Shklovsy lived through most of the Twentieth Century (1893-1983) and had an enormous impact on literary criticism and art. More here, and here.