• 13 May 2010 /  Uncategorized
    I spent a good part of yesterday working with editor Marlowe Fawcett of indirect design on putting the finishing touches on a multi-media piece that I’ll be showing at my upcoming presentation at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, this Saturday at 2pm.  If you can make please do join us.  The details are here.
    As a photographer you spend much of your time and your creative energy working alone.  Not that I don’t like that but I have to say the I thoroughly enjoyed the collaborative process of working with someone else to edit my work and create a multi-media piece.  I expect that I’ll be doing more of it in the future for sure.  Eventually the multi-media piece will be posted here and hopefully more to follow.
  • 25 Feb 2010 /  Commercial

    Just an update to say the series of Partner Yoga images for Elysabeth Williamson was recently featured on the website of Vickerey, the clothing company who’s yoga outfits were featured in the series.  They put together a great multi-media piece that can be seen here.   Enjoy!!

  • 21 Feb 2010 /  Commercial

    posted- 2/21/10

    Here’s some from a series I recently did for Elysabeth Williamson, a premier Partner Yoga instructor and developer of Principle-Based Partner Yoga™ techniques.  The images were used to completely redo her website and brand her “product.”

    The shoot was a complete blast and Elysabeth and her crew were a joy to work with.   They all were amazingly accomplished in their practice and an inspiration to be around.  As someone that attempts to practice yoga on a regular basis, I couldn’t help being somewhat jealous of their abilities. But hey I guess that’s good inspiration to practice even more.  Enjoy the pics and check out Elysabeth’s new site

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  • Here’s another one of the new portraits that was created on the recent trip to the east coast. This one is of Iraq War veteran Chantelle Bateman. I was lucky enough to spend about 1 week with Chantelle in Pittsburgh, PA during the G20 protests. It was truly great to get to know her and be inspired by her enthusiasm for creating peace and radical change in our world. After Pittsburgh, Chantelle, myself and Jason Hurd (another Iraq war veteran that I have done a portrait of for this series) made a late night drive over to DC in order to get up early and create the portrait below in front of the White House. It was a bit of surreal experience- I had forgotten ( I think because the only time I’m usually any where near the white house is for a protest) that there are always bus loads of tourists mingling around the front gates, getting their photos taken, etc. I had this idea it would just be Chantelle, Jason and I with no distractions. The intimacy of my work hinges upon my ability to connect with those I photograph on an emotional level during the shoot and bus loads of curious tourists makes that slightly more difficult. However, it wasn’t long before Chantelle and I were able to forget that anyone else was around and were able to really connect and focus on what it was we were there to do.

    Here’s Chantelle’s story. I hope it moves you as much as it did me. In peace, Jon O.

    “I enlisted through the Delayed Entry Program during my first month of college in January 2003 and graduated from boot camp in August 2003. A year later I deployed to Al Asad, Iraq w/ Marine Aircraft Group-49 as an Aviation Supply Clerk in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II August 2004 - March 2005.

    I never saw direct combat, but what I did see still haunts my thoughts. I felt guilty even then; on the nights when I would stand watch with my weapon loaded trying to exude the most menacing posture I could over people who looked like some of my own family. Even our leadership used racial epithets like “haji”. I never talked to anyone from Iraq, I never asked the boy who reminded me of my brother if he had a sister at home. I just stood there with my freedom bullets making sure they didn’t make any false moves while crammed into their crappy tents.

    It’s been said that “war is long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of shear terror” so I spent most of my deployment hopped on caffeine or adrenaline. When I came home I replaced that rush with whatever I could. I don’t even remember a lot of it. But then I lost a job, I couldn’t stay in school, and the party fund was tapped out. I had to be alone with myself but I didn’t know who I was anymore. I couldn’t handle being alone in my head with a stranger.

    I began to search for answer and long story short I came up with more questions than I did anything else. I joined the Marine Corps because I believed in all of the things I said when I took my oath of enlistment. I believed that despite some mistakes my country’s government genuinely sought to do good things in the world. And I once believed those things without question. Now I question EVERYTHING…and so should you.”
    Chantelle Bateman, Iraq War veteran from Washington DC

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  • Here’s another new portrait from the Warriors for Peace series.  This one is of Liam Madden, an Iraq War veteran living in Boston, MA.  It was a real pleasure to meet and hang out with Liam and the other members of IVAW Boston that he lives with.  I loved the message that we decided to include in Liams photo- “Evolve into Love” which just happened to be drawn on combat paper (paper made from the pulp of his uniform).  It is so fitting, so grounding, so simple and just a perfect phrase, goal, call to action and request for all of us.  It really does seem to be Liam’s mantra.  And I might just have to add it to my list of mantra’s as well.  I mean really, what else are we really here for anyway?  Shouldn’t that be the ultimate goal? And if yes, than shouldn’t we be making it more of a priority?  Check out Liam’s story and portrait below and feel free to share your thoughts.

    Liam Madden was a “good Marine” who graduated the top of his class. However, the Iraq war, which he served in as a sergeant from 2004 to 2005, prompted his search for explanations for who wielded power in this world and why it appeared so deceitful and brutal. He became dedicated to speaking out and spent three years… as a peace activist, including time as the chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War’s board of directors, co-founder of Appeal for Redress, and appearing on countless media outlets including CNN, Keith Olberman, and 60 Minutes. Liam now believes peace comes from within. “I am left with the conviction that the infinite, all encompassing energy of love is the only reality and all else is an illusion derived from the insane belief that we are separate from each other.”
    Liam Madden, Iraq War Veteran, Boston, MA

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  • This past summer I had four pieces from the Warriors for Peace project in a  group show called the Odysseus Project: Finding Home,  at Art @ 12, in Boston, MA.  The show was to all accounts a great success and after receiving loads of positive feedback from viewers and critics it was extended for an additional month.  Recently an online gallery of the work has been created so an extended audience can experience the work.  The project is focused on veterans and their experiences upon returning from war with much of the work being created by veterans themselves.  You can see the online gallery here

    It’s a well done online gallery with load of info about the individual artists, the projects, the art that is being displayed and the stories behind it.  Well worth checking out!!

    Here’s their Facebook Page and their blog

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  • 17 Nov 2009 /  GI resistance, Warriors for Peace

    Introducing “Drew Cameron”

    Sorry it’s been a while.  Been a bit overwhelmed as of late.  I’ll be posting several of the new portraits here in the next week or so along with the stories that go with them.  These were all done on a recent two week long trip to the east coast.  The first one was done in Burlington, VT and is of Iraq war veteran Drew Cameron.   Drew served with the U.S Army in Iraq in 2003 as a Field Artillery Soldier.  After returning from Iraq and getting out of the military Drew co-founded an organization called Combat Paper Project, which works with returning veterans to turn their uniforms into hand made paper, which is then used to share stories, emotions, art, etc.  Drew and other members of the Combat Paper Project have been touring nationally and internationally both showing their art and leading workshops for veterans and others who are interested. The poem below was one of Drew’s first projects.  It was originally published in the book “Warrior Writers” which was created by another amazing project called the Warrior Writers Project, which works with returning vets to help them share their stories through art, poetry, essays, etc.  Definitely check them out.

    “You are not my Enemy
    my brother my sister
    but I have done something wrong
    and perhaps I am now yours.
    I went to your home
    I went inside
    soiled your rug and
    bullied your children.

    You are not my enemy
    my father my mother.
    I drove on you
    threw garbage into your window
    burned your garden
    and spit in your water.

    You are not my enemy
    my grandmother my grandfather.
    I built walls between us.
    Rubble made sound
    sand scattered plastic bags all around
    rifles and checkpoints
    bright lights into your eyes.

    No, you are not my enemy
    my partner my friend.
    We were betrayed.

    You are not my enemy
    my child my self.
    Our blood is the same.

    You are not my enemy
    my memories and rage.
    Re-making sense now together.

    You are not my enemy
    you never were.
    You are a part of me
    as I am with you.

    You are not my enemy
    we will stay true.

    You are not my enemy
    we will change this
    with you. ”

    Drew Cameron, Iraq War Veteran, Burlington, VT.

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  • 13 Oct 2009 /  GI resistance, Warriors for Peace

    Finally a  FaceBook page for the Warriors for Peace Project

    posted 10/13/09

    There is finally a facebook page for my Warriors for Peace project. If you dig the project and want to keep up to date, become a fan. I just got the page up about a week ago and there are over 350 fans already!  It’s always exciting to know that more and more people are seeing the images, the stories, and the messages of the veterans who have served and decided to transform themselves and the world around them.  I’ll be posting updates about the project there, including places to see the project, new images, stories etc. Check it out!! and please spread the word.

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  • 01 Sep 2009 /  GI resistance, Warriors for Peace

    “No one is being liberated.”  William Stewart-Starks deployed to the Anbar Province of Iraq as a medic in 2004 in full support of the war.  He soon began to wonder though, why he was even there and what they were really fighting for.  “We knew we weren’t fighting Al- Qaeda, we were fighting civilians who were fighting back and we were just perpetuating the violence.”  William Stewart-Starks, Iraq War veteran. Lawrence, Kansas

    “No one is being liberated.” William Stewart-Starks deployed to the Anbar Province of Iraq as a medic in 2004 in full support of the war. He soon began to wonder though, why he was even there and what they were really fighting for. “We knew we weren’t fighting Al- Qaeda, we were fighting civilians who were fighting back and we were just perpetuating the violence.” William Stewart-Starks, Iraq War veteran. Lawrence, Kansas

    As the continued occupation of Iraq falls from the news and the escalation in Afghanistan is overshadowed and hardly debated (even as this August has become the deadliest month in the eight year occupation), it seems as important as ever to bring the stories of veterans who are resisting war and working for peace to a larger audience.  Not only to question war but to highlight the amazing potential that lies within radical self-transformation.   I will be spending the last two weeks of September trekking all over the northeastern U.S documenting these stories for my Warriors for Peace series.  Plans are still being hashed out but include stops in Burlington, NYC, Pittsburg, hopefully Toronto and more.  I will be sending out more info as I get closer to the departure date.
    Your support for these efforts is greatly appreciated.  Please consider:
    - Providing a car that I can use/rent for cheap for all or a portion of the trip ( I will be flying in and out of Newark, NJ)
    -  Making a tax deductible donation through the Blue Earth Alliance.
    - passing on the website etc.

    Other Upcoming News

    - Warriors for Peace in a group show at Camera Obscura Gallery in Denver
    - A trip to Iraqi refugee camps in Jordan with Iraq war veteran Phil Aliff.

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  • 16 Aug 2009 /  Commercial

    Last week I did a shoot for one of the premier partner yoga instructors in the country: Elysabeth Williamson.  Elysabeth was teaching the first ever partner yoga teacher training course. The course was given up at the absolutely beautiful Gold Lake Resort about an hour and half from Denver.  I spent the morning documenting the training (2nd image below).  In the afternoon we were able to spend a bit of time creating some commercial images that Elysabeth plans to use for promotional material. We were a bit cramped on time and then of course the rain came but we were still able to get a great series of images, thanks to some great work by all those involved. For those that don’t know about partner yoga- it’s worth checking out.  It’s a beautiful practice that challenges the participants in so many ways, not least of which is opening ourselves up to the beauty in those around us- a noble effort if there ever was one.  A big thanks to Elysabeth and all the participants for allowing me into such an intimate space.

    This was one of my favorites from the day.

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