The Illuminating Photography of John Tavares
In creative endeavors, I have a strong passion for writing, particularly creative writing, but I found photography an engaging form of free expression long before I attended journalism school. I first became fascinated by photography as a medium and art form through magazine cover illustrations and especially the photojournalism of Time-Life photographers such as Robert Capa while I was in high school, when I read World War Two and Viet Nam war history. I always gravitated towards the journalistic medium, so when I acquired the training afforded by journalism college I felt more assertive behind the camera lens. I found digital photography liberating – a tool that empowered me in efforts to photographically document, far and wide, various aspects of everyday life and the urban environment, including social issues and norms and morays, in Toronto and rural landscapes in the sparsely populated latitudes of northwestern Ontario. In the northern setting I am often overwhelmed by the vastness and inexorableness of nature and I experimented in slightly unconventional manners with capturing landscape images, including using very long focal lengths, extremely long shutter speeds, in very low light. Inspired by the photography of artists like Ansel Adams and Annie Leibowitz, I nonetheless tend to eschew efforts towards their technical perfection, which at times seems unattainable. Likewise, I’ve been content to keep photo editing to a minimum, so I simply don’t use sophisticated image editing programs like Photoshop or Lightroom. I have utilized Aviary, Flickr’s online photo editor, and its predecessor, Picnik, at a bare minimum, to crop, color correct, or to tweak saturation and warmth, but even then I’m often dissatisfied with the results. For some images I selected for The Writing Disorder, I’ve allowed myself to be enchanted by the color and beauty of the northern landscape, occasionally set against the intrusion of technology and human development.
Born and raised in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, John Tavares is the son of Portuguese immigrants from Sao Miguel, Azores. His formal education includes a two-year GAS diploma from Humber College with concentration in psychology, a three-year journalism diploma from Centennial College, a Specialized Honors BA in English from York University. He’s worked as a research assistant for the Sioux Lookout Public Library and the Northwestern Ontario regional recycle association with the public works department. He also worked with the disabled for the Sioux Lookout Association for Community Living. Meanwhile, his short fiction has been published in a wide variety of “little magazines” and literary magazines, online and in print, in the United States and Canada. Following journalism studies, he had articles, photography, and features published in East York Observer, East York Times, Beaches Town Crier, East Toronto Advocate, Our Toronto – as well as community and trade newspapers such as York University’s Excalibur and Hospital News, where he interned as an editorial assistant. John recently wrote a novel.