John Eaton was born and raised in England, but has been living in California since the late 1980’s and is now retired. His photographic skills are self-taught through decades of patience and practice following a first experience with photography back in 1958 when on a school trip to Brussels and Paris using his father’s Kodak camera. Black and white photography has always been John’s first love — the simplicity, elegance, drama, timeliness and richness that it can bring to an image — the contrasts between light and dark, areas of luminance and tonality, and the abstractions of lines, shapes and forms: that “special” quality that heightens the emotion and impact of the image.
John has received several national and international awards for his work, including 1st prizes in architecture from the Pollux Awards, International Photography Awards (IPA), and American Aperture Awards, and Finalist in the Grand Prix de la Découverte, Paris, for his work on English Medieval Cathedrals. His work has been selected for many juried exhibitions and he has had solo exhibitions in Palo Alto and Pacific Grove, and is included in the collection at Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
I’m energized in exploring images of what I see around me, especially architecture and landscape (the interest in architecture comes from the rest of my family: my father, brother and son are all architects) — I find the interplay of form and function in buildings fascinating. For several years post-retirement I was engaged in a major personal project to photograph the interiors of all the English medieval cathedrals (those built between the Norman Conquest in 1066 and the Dissolution in 1539-41): the fruits of this work can be seen at: www.englishmedievalcathedrals.com.
Loosely continuing the architectural theme a subsequent project focused on the industrial heritage of Buffalo, NY., photographing the now derelict and abandoned grain elevators and silos. At the time, leading European architects cited these monumental edifices as key examples of modernist functional design, featuring prominently in the writings and photographs of Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mendelsohn and others. “ … in abandonment and death they evoke the majesties of a departed civilization”; Reyner Banham, A Concrete Atlantis, 1986.
A current project “Technopolis” explores some of the legacy of Silicon Valley:
“Once upon a time came the promise of a brave new world. In the cities tall towers of glass reaching to the sky, reflecting the sun, replaced old smokestacks. Around them lay the jumble of tired, dull and desolate buildings of yesteryear. Inexorably, the serried ranks of conforming rows of new buildings, served by their straight silver and golden highways, relentlessly marched forward. Thus Technopolis.arose, while the individualistic faded grandeur of the old was forgotten and often swept away in the creation of the new order”.
This brave new technopolis is recreated using the artifacts of the time.