Jon Linton’s iconic landscapes and portraits find beauty in the most displaced of people and intractable places. Whether a photograph of an abandoned village, grief-stricken- face, daunting mountain top, a sole prickly cactus, somber graveyard, weeping willow tree, or winding dirt road, Linton’s compelling narrative reveals the inner secrets of the forgotten, impoverished, lonely-hearted, and misguided with a sense of heroic humanity.
Inspired by fabled photographers Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank and Vivian Maier, Jon describes his process as “walking on a tight rope to capture images that are painful to look at and then shows them to the world as a form of reconstitution.”
Linton’s photography began on the streets after losing a dear friend to a drug overdose. Jon recalls, “His death impelled me to take photographs of the unseen as a way to pay honor to his memory.” The juxtaposition of his work is interwoven through stories of misery and mystery by the endless voices whose scents of obscurity are carried on a breeze like poison to the soul. Linton adds, “I wear the despondency home, and in my own efforts to find restoration, I seek out quiet places to be still my balance.”
Immersed in the art world for more than two decades, Jon wants the work he creates to find resonance with its viewer, “A good photograph is seen with the eyes, but a great photograph is felt in the soul.”
VENÜ gets first field of Linton’s captures on film of the Ukrainian invasion to share with our audience and the collective will be exhibited at The National Museum of the Przemyśl in Poland.
Joining fellow activist, friend and Artist Roberto Márquez, who was painting anti-war art in Ukraine, Linton went to chronicle the abyss of war. “Appalled that one person can make a decision that left so many people deceased and fallen to the unjust tyranny of one’s political agenda has made me realize how small our problems in our own country really are.” “Women who lost husbands in combat, mothers who lost their sons, and people’s lives who have been turned inside out. The entire time I was in Ukraine, I got an actual bird’s eye view of the evil mankind is capable of. We are truly the most dangerous species on this planet.”
The contiguity in Jon’s works displays endurance through suffering, grace in frailty, quietude in turmoil and love from indifference through the silent lens of his lucidities. – Yet, the allure of his arresting addictions is our connection to the outside world.
We are bound together by Linton’s captivating frames of insight.
Jon’s first experience with a camera came around the age of 12 or 13. Jon fondly recounts, “I used to borrow my mother’s 35 mm Minolta and take photographs around the neighborhood. I’d snap pictures until the film ran out.”
After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with a liberal arts degree in 1987, Jon worked for Ralph Lauren in NYC. A colleague from Polo had left the fashion industry for a life in the gallery business and urged Jon to follow. Linton would start an art magazine in Arizona in 1998, for which he published for a decade. His publishing concern has also been responsible for creating exquisite books of art for many accomplished artists through the southwest and beyond.
The displaced Chicagoan has called the desert home for decades. In recent years his days have been spent making pictures, helping the voiceless, or publishing art. Linton shares, “I am a man of deep passions and have various interests. I never feel like anything that I do is necessarily work. For this, I’m truly blessed.”
In 2012, Jon unveiled a robust body of street photography that captured the public’s attention, and an exhibit called ‘I Have a Name’ followed. A book showcasing the work was published and the heartrending exhibition traveled through the west for several years. “I had always enjoyed landscape photography, but only after the street portraits did I truly understand how deeply meaningful work in nature would become. Refuge from the painful images of the street has helped deliver photography that moves the heart in different measures. “The desert has a quiet sense of calm. The pale blue sky, indigo mountains, and majestic sunsets have a way of stealing your heart.”
For our art enthusiasts, Linton’s works are shown at the Gallery of Fine Art in Scottsdale annually, Hidden in the Hills, a twenty-five-year-old show in Cave Creek, Arizona and the Galisteo Studio in New Mexico.