About J Riley Stewart art projects

A photographic project implies a prospective effort to create a body of photographs in which all images relate to a single theme, narrative, purpose, or a place in time. However, like most things in the art world,  any definition of 'photographic project' is loose and its practice is even looser.

Sometimes, I see the makings of a project long after I've created the individual images and only then see the common thread or story among them.  Such retrospective projects certainly have a place telling stories through imagery. My first real project was that way,  the collection of images found in "Timeless Walls."  It was almost 20 years after making the negatives that I realized the collection told a cohesive story better than any 1, or 2, or 3 images alone.

But the true essence of any project requires purpose, and usually that purpose is known (even if only conceptually) before the work actually begins. Projects start with an idea, a question, an hypothesis or a vision of the end-state or goal.

That prospective model of 'photographic project' is how I've approached most of my art work over the past 15 years.  I profoundly enjoy asking questions that might be best answered through imagery, such as "..what are small towns in Virginia like during the twilight hours" (as in Small Town Virginia), or  "..what can we learn about early  American ingenuity by looking at our earliest factories in "Virginia Grist," or even "..can the eclectic nature of having sex be portrayed using inanimate objects, as in "Afterglow?"

I have far more questions than I've had time to explore, but asking the questions is always a first step. Sometimes, my interest in finding the answers is fleeting and 'the project' goes no further. But sometimes, the questions stay with me– pester me– until I finally agree to define an end-state vision and begin putting the images together. I'm currently working on several bodies of work. Stay tuned. 

J Riley Stewart

Please email me if you have any questions. 

Collections of images created with a goal to tell a common visual story