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Majors & Degrees

Photography is DSU professor’s passion

January 7, 2014

When Thomas Jones first started out as an artist, he considered painting as his preferred medium, and always had a camera in-hand to take reference photos for his paintings. Over time he noticed his paintings became more and more photo realistic. After that realization, Jones decided to pursue photography as his medium of choice, which then became his passion.

“The perfect moment of time does not wait, so I have to predict that moment and catch it,” says Jones. “There are several times when one may say, ‘That would make a great photograph.’ This is the moment of time I am speaking of, the moment when the light and the surrounding environment come together as one.”

For Jones, a professor at Dakota State University, the most intriguing aspect of photography is when moments are captured having a sense of mystery, tells a story or explains an event. He has found great success in one of his most recent photographs that exude those aspects, an image of a mysterious female passenger in a cab. The photo, taken during a trip to London, England, is known as “Taxi,” and is making quite the impression in the art world at juried exhibits across the United States.

Many of Jones’ peers talk to him about “Taxi.” Arno Rafael Minkkinen, a Finnish-American photographer, gives his first impression of the image. “Reading the image left to right, the passenger is headed to London. Well, no way to know for sure. This is the strange wonder of an image like this that reaffirms my trust in the fact that the reality of reality is far more inventive than my imagination.”

To date, “Taxi” has appeared in juried exhibits in Denver, Colo., Brookings, S.D., and Lexington, Va. The latest exhibition, which ran from Dec. 1-20 at the Black Box Gallery in Portland, Ore., was a juried show of 24 photographs; all with a travel photography focus.

To get his photographs into the various artist venues around the United States, Jones searches online listings for upcoming photo exhibitions. Also, being a member of the Society for Photographic Educators, he has access to listings of photography show opportunities across the country. All of the exhibits in which he shows his work are juried, meaning an entry fee is paid and photographers are allowed to submit up to three photographs. If the juror selects his submitted photograph, he then prepares it for shipment to the location of the exhibit.

Because of time and monetary constraints, Jones is not able to attend most of the locations where his photography is on display, but he does request that the gallery sends a photograph of his work hanging at the exhibit. He was able to attend a local exhibit at the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, S.D. this past year, in which two of his photographs were on display, including “Taxi” and “Give Way.”