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 far less satisfaction working with grand and sumptuous scenes: 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 backdrops, all of these still serve as a contextual backdrop for most photography. Unless one works in the studio the landscape is pretty hard to avoid. That being said, I prefer to see the little treasures, quirks, and photographs between the photographs that hide out there. The Eastern Sierra is a place of overwhelming silence, blazing clear light and soft subtle palettes. Living here has made my own palette much more open and soft as well.

From the influences of Ansel Adams and Edward Western, my early landscape work became very demanding in terms of image quality, and I could occasionally become obsessed with print quality as an end in itself. I’ve long gotten over that, but the richness of the photographic object itself remains as important as ever.

In 2006 I completed a 14 year project of the bypassed sections of Route 66 entitled Evidence of Passing.

Please feel free to contact me with comments or questions.

Tom Mallonee









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