Joan Weiss realized early on that she didn’t excel at drawing or painting, but the photos she took with her family’s trusty old Brownie revealed her artistic side. Her passion for photography grew with the passing years, as did her skills. Her first formal studies were at Cornell University and then at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and continued with private training. She came to realize that while she might not have an artist’s hand she does have a photographer’s eye. She also discovered that she sees the world differently than do most. She finds beauty where others might see the mundane and glitz where others see grandeur.
After her retirement in 2015, Joan has pursued opportunities to exhibit her work in digital photography. Since 2016 she has had 5 solo photographic exhibits in Long Island galleries, and additional photographs have won entry into 8 juried exhibits. She received the Award of Excellence by the Art League of Long Island for the photograph, Happy 100 to Nathan’s Famous. Her artistry has been the subject of feature stories in several print and on-line publications. She also practices her art abroad, most notably in her moving collection of images from Vietnam showing life today in a country that has known too much war.
Joan describes her approach to photography as follows: “I strive to go beyond a subject’s appearance to uncover a deeper, more elusive truth. That truth is revealed to me more vividly through the camera lens than through the naked eye. I see textures, and layers and the way objects interact in geometric patterns to form other creations. I see shadows and reflections and sometimes an incongruous fusion of these elements. What I see in the camera lens joins with the impressions stamped in my mind’s eye, informing the images I create.”
Joan also has a practical approach to her photography: “I go out in atrocious weather, get into impossible positions, and ruin my clothes.”
Both approaches are evident in the unique images she creates. Her singular vision and adventurous nature have contributed to her emergence as a photographer of both the real and the surreal, shedding light on the mysteries of both our land and of lands abroad.
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