A Conversation with John Ganis

Screenshot 2016-03-10 11.02.30A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN GANIS
Having described himself as “…a photographic artist committed to issues of environ- mental concern…”1, Detroit-based photographer John Ganis documents the all too frequently ruinous conver- gence of nature and culture in his im- ages of a land despoiled of its beauty by unbridled expansion. Ganis’s photographs of oil spills, strip mining sites, toxic-waste dumps, and threat- ened coastal regions are, yet, richly- rendered images whose aesthetic qual- ity seemingly belies their disturbing theme. The sumptuous color of the artist’s panoramic pictures provides an effective and ironic counterpoint to the disquieting nature of the subject mat- ter; his adroit approach to composition (that which he describes as a “well- structured photograph”) heightens the viewer’s perception of their content.
Despite the scars visited upon it by humanity, Ganis celebrates the
…traditional landscape photogra- phy presents an idealized notion of nature while I am interested in the landscape as it has been changed by human activity.

by MARY McNICHOLS
land. He speaks of an “empathy” and a “reverence” for all of nature, and hopes that his photographs will inspire his audience to appreciate its fragile beauty and, ultimately, to replace a legacy of consumption with one of sustainability.
John Ganis was the recipient of the Harold Jones Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Arizona, in 2008 and the Honored Educator Award, Society for Photographic Education, Midwest Region in 2007. Having joined the faculty of the Photography Department at the College for Creative Studies in 1980, he has served the school as Department Chair as well as in his present position as Professor of Photography.
His work was included in the exhibition “Paradise Paved,” curated by Photo Review editor Stephen Perloff at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia in 2005 and in the ac- companying catalogue that also served as Volume 27, Number 3 of The Photo Review. His new book, America’s Endangered Coasts: Photographs from Texas to Maine, with essays by Liz Wells and Dr. James Hansen, is forthcoming from George F. Thomp- son Publishing (GFT Books) in Fall of 2016.

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