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Reception: John O. Roy and Women’s March – Griffin @ SOWA

August 2, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

A woman demonstrator faces away from the viewer holds up a sign that says , "I am a woman, what is your superpower?"

Women’s March
John O. Roy
July 24 – November 3, 2019

Reception August 2, 2019 6-8 PM

At a portfolio review,  the reviewer asked me why I shoot street photography.  But that is not an easy question to answer because my work does not fit into what most photographers consider street photography.

The “purist” say that you should take a picture and do little or no editing to the image.  Any changes that are made are global.  These photographers document the world as it “is.”  (But that would depend on what your definition of the word “is” is.)  They are more of a documentary photographer by creating a sort of time capsule to share with future generations showing them what the world was like in the past and is hard to put into words.  For example, if they were to photograph a child chasing a bouncing call down the street, they would leave the image as it is. That alone is a lovely image and tells a story the photographer wants to share.

The second camp of street photographers envisions the world more artistically.  These people wish to change the public’s perception of the world in their vision.  Let’s take the image example of the child chasing a bouncing ball down a street. They may want to try and convey a message of impending doom if the child continues to pursue the ball any further. They might darken the shadows, remove any distractions that take away from the story.  By doing this, they would try to convey a message the photographer wants to share. Maybe the message the photographer is trying to convey is about a dream they recently had or even a repressed memory.

From my portfolio, you should see that I am in the other camp of street photographers.   I see the world more artistically and with dashes of negativity.  I would have to admit that my vision of the world around me is a little different than most people.  It is dark, mysterious, and unusual.   You will not find puppy dogs or flowers in my photography.

Being able to be unique is a great privilege, and we all should be able allowed to explore this.  If people are not permitted to be an individual, society will not be able to grow and evolve.

Hopefully, I made myself clear with my vision and purpose in my photographic style.  It is pretty unique and hard to explain. I am guessing that my pictures speak louder than my words.  – JR

John O. Roy rediscovered his love of photography when his father-in-law gave him a digital camera in the late 1990s. John did dabble a little in photography when he was a teenager, but with limited funds, he was unable to pursue it.  In the years that followed, John refined his skills through self-instruction, a close friend, and several photography workshops at a local community college.

In the Spring of 2006, John wanted to make photography a more significant part of his life, so he enrolled in a Professional Photography Program and The Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University.  John refined his skills through one on one instruction with real-world photographers. The school was a fantastic experience for him.

After graduation in 2008, John attempted to be more a traditional photographer by taking portraits as well as photographing weddings.  He quickly realized that wasn’t his calling.

While contemplating his future, John recalled something from a photography review during his last class at CDIA.  The instructor, Jim Fitts, pointed out that he had real skills as a fine art photographer. John then started experimenting with shooting items with studio lighting.  John also experimented with street photography, something that he enjoyed and excelled in.  Some of his heroes are Stanley Kubrick, Joel Meyerowitz, Marie Laigneau, and Gary Winogrand.

When John isn’t shooting, he is cooking, riding his bike, and working at his grownup job as an Inside Sales Rep. John is also a board member of the American Society of Media Photographers.



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August 2, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Griffin at SOWA
530 Harrison Ave
Boston, 02118 United States

All sales are final on products purchased through the Griffin Museum. Participant cancellation of a program/lecture/class will result in a full refund only if notice of cancellation is given at least 2 weeks before the date of the event.