BadJon: Black and White Portraits

Exhibit dates: February 18 – March 4, 2017

Local photographer Jonathan Stout, better known in some circles as BadJon, has created more than 100 intimate portraits of local folks. The portraits, taken in black and white and printed 13 x 19 inches, are arresting. Each subject is as different as can be, and the stark execution and installation creates a supremely engaging body of work.

Artist Statement

I have had an idea for a portrait series of my friends for years. I would jot down some different ideas in my phone and save the notes and just randomly check back on it and change it again. I wanted to try to stay away from regular “smile” portraits. I wanted the viewer to actually stop and look at the person and not just see the smile and move on. I wanted at first to just capture friends but then it went farther than that. I was getting people I have never met before. Having people I didn’t actually know well made it more of a challenge for me to try and portray the person how I sometimes saw them. I know most these people are happy and great people, so it was a challenge to tell them to just be in the moment for a little and to trust me with everything. I never imagined I would of collected over 110 faces. 

I chose to use black and white to also give a more depth to the photos. I think color distracts a little too much from the final idea of layering the light and hiding some of the eye in shadows and I just didnt trust my self to pull off a decent portrait or 100 with color. I wanted to do this project to inspire people. I had a lot of nervous people who didn’t really know what I was doing but still let me take a photo of them. At first I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, maybe just some web gallery but then I started printing them out and I had more people interested so I kept shooting. 

Maybe I’ll think of more..i just wanted to inspire people or bring people together. 

Closing Day Portrait Session with BadJon | Saturday, March 4, 2017, 1 – 5pm

This is your opportunity to have your portrait taken by Stout, done in the same vein as the exhibition. Free and open to all. Each person will receive a complimentary digital version, and Stout will offer his beautiful, large scale prints for sale. Your portrait will likely end up in some future iteration of this series. 

Read about it in this article by the Charleston City Paper!