A passion for photographing the beauty of Earth and Sky
...an artist statement of West Virginia photographer Jeff Ball
You are familiar with traditional journeys into photography. For me, it was astrophotography that introduced me to the art form. In my youth I had a fondness for astronomy, but not until my adult life did I act upon those childhood dreams. In 1994, a heavenly spectacle captured my imagination; the unique occurrence of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashing into the planet Jupiter. The thought of witnessing a comet crashing into the solar systems largest planet captured my imagination. I was consumed with learning astronomy in the amateur community and became a regular reader of "Sky and Telescope." The back pages of the magazine are reserved for the most intriguing images of our universe taken by amateurs. I was compelled to learn how to capture celestial images. This was my first step into photography, totally unorthodox by most standards.
The learning curve for astrophotography was very steep. There are many technical challenges to overcome in order to image a celestial body for a one hour exposure while the earth is rotating! After mastering the technical knowledge, there was still something missing. I needed to enhance the artistic presentation of the image.
My formal training has been mostly oriented to the left side of the brain. In 1985 I graduated with a B.B.A. in Economics from Marshall University. In 1986 I began a career in professional sales in the pharmaceutical industry. I returned to Marshall for completion of an M.B.A. degree in 1995. To enhance the right-side brain activity, in 2001 I began to study the art of photography.
My early studies were with Michael Reichmann and his wonderful online resource "The Luminous Landscape" in addition to the classic writings of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. In 2004 I began to study more intensely under the tutelage of Alain Briot. Alain is an accomplished landscape photographer in the southwest U.S. He was formally trained at the Academie Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris as a painter. Alain has been the most influential person in my pursuit of excellence in fine art photography. His instruction has enabled me to achieve high quality fine art prints as the final representation of the image. I have participated in numerous workshops with Alain and special fine art summits with guest instructors who are the finest landscape photographers and printers today. These guest instructors include Charles Cramer and Joseph Holmes, both of the Ansel Adams workshop program. To supplement my studies with Alain, I study the contemporary writings of Brooks Jensen, accomplished photographer and writer on fine art photography and publisher of "Lenswork" magazine.
My goal is to present the finest quality prints to you so that they may become cherished heirlooms within your family. The print may rekindle fond memories of a place visited, motivate you to visit new places, or perhaps the print takes you to places that no one has visited and may never visit. The equipment used may vary over time, but the vision remains the same…to capture the most unique and positively beautiful image possible. The locations you will see will be from my backyard in beautiful West Virginia to the deserts of the American southwest to the grandeur of our own Milky Way galaxy.
I look forward to discussing with you the artwork that is most appropriate for your home or office décor. Please contact me with any questions you may have regarding your fine art photography needs.