Bell, Jan

American (1954 - )


After a career in graphic design, Bell's creativity found a new genesis in fine art photography. Viewing the world as a designer, he says, has influenced his aesthetic, particularly in the clean, elegant compositions he presents the viewer. Bell seeks a deep connectedness to his subject matter, whether it be a remote biome or the central hub of a city, allowing him to capture an image with clear previsualization. It is this time alone in his subject's space that allows him to connect with the land and compose his images, leaving the viewer with a feeling of peaceful zen.

This 'zen' in his shooting style is evidenced by the intimate scale and proportioning of often oversized subjects. The vastness of the American West is pared down to graceful line and tone; giant boulders are presented as delicate textural models. Conversely, Jan is able to take something as simple and reductive as a single agave or dill flower and present it in its own space, seemingly dispelling scale.  Jan uses everything at his disposal: light, tone, texture, line, and geometry, even transcending to color compositions when justified to produce crisp, compelling, arresting images. 

Jan was a winner at the 2010 Canton Luminaries Photography Competition and later went on to win the Grand Prize at the prestigious Ansel Adams Gallery Photography Competition.