Tom Mallonee
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I prefer to take a more narrative approach to a bio rather than listing the customary exhibitions, publications, teaching, and educational experiences. I’d be happy to provide “the list” upon request.

I grew up (in a manner of speaking) in Southern California. I moved to Santa Cruz in 1977 where my interest in photography took hold with a borrowed Olympus 35mm SLR. In 1998, I moved to the Owens Valley in California’s Eastern Sierra. Ever since I discovered the Eastern Sierra and Death Valley I’ve been enchanted by the soaring mountains, vast desert, small towns, slow pace and history that make this place inarguably unique.

Since 1971, I have been an architectural fountain design consultant. I have pursued my photography continuously since 1979 and curtailed my consulting work in 2003 to devote more time to creative work and teaching.

I initially landed in the realm of large format black and white landscape work and made some successful images. But by 1992 I felt less satisfaction working with grand and sumptuous scenes, at least landscape for landscape’s sake. My work still involves the landscape to varying degrees (depending on how one wants to define landscape), and whether it’s earth, rock, water, trees, urban streets, or documentary, all of these involve landscape
to some degree, certainly a sense of place. Unless one works in the studio the landscape is pretty hard to avoid. That being said, I tend to see the little treasures, quirks, and photographs between the photographs that hide out there. The Eastern Sierra is a place of overwhelming space, silence, blazing clear light and soft subtle palettes. Living here has made my own palette more open and soft as well.

From the early influences of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, my photograpic sensibilities became very demanding in terms of image quality, and I could occasionally become obsessed with it as an end in itself. I’ve long gotten over that, but the viceral richness and clarity of the photographic print remains very important to my image making. But as
Ansel Adams once remarked, there is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept!

In 2006 I completed a 14 year project of the bypassed sections of Route 66 entitled Evidence of Passing. For the last several years I have been exploring the cottonwoods of the Owens Valley in a series I call The Dreaming Trees.

Please feel free to contact me with comments or questions.

Tom Mallonee










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