John Bower’s moving black-and-white photographs of forlorn farmhouses, desolate commercial buildings, rusted vehicles, and forgotten cemetery statues, are silver-gelatin renderings of Indiana’s unique heritage.
“I strive to create fine portraits of what’s ignored, forgotten, and in danger of being lost,” John says. “There are a lot of stories my subjects could tell — if they could only speak.”
John develops his own film and creates prints in a traditional wet darkroom, and publishes his work in a continuing series of popular photography books (7 so far). He and his wife, Lynn (who designs the books and shares in writing the text), own a specialty publishing company, Studio Indiana. Their latest volume, The Common Good, focuses on schools, churches, and public buildings that were erected with “taxes, tithes, or tuition.”
The Bowers have traveled more than 100,000 miles in recent years, visiting every city and town on the Indiana highway map. John cites a network of historians, librarians, and scores of other individuals, who help him locate subjects — plus he and Lynn do a great deal of exploring — something they’ve been doing together for over 40 years.
“There are so many things to make pictures of,” John says. “Working with a theme helps me focus, but there is always a great deal more. So, we take notes about interesting objects and places to shoot for future projects.”
John is very pleased to be an Indiana Artisan. “This program is a tremendous validation of my work. I love the way it promotes talented Hoosier artisans, and brings buyers and artists together.”
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