by Dr. Lew Deitch
Artist of the
One of the often-heard critiques of a realistic painting is that it
looks photographic. There are those in the art community who believe
that the camera alone is capable of capturing an image and rendering
it in an artistic manner. This is as far from the truth as stating
that a painter who renders a life like image with brush on canvas
could have been supplanted by a camera lens. In both cases, true
artistic talent is required.
Joe Hoover is one
of those rare artists whose primary tool is the camera and not the
brush. He is a decorated air force combat cameraman who documented
intense action during a three-year period of the Vietnam War. Also to
his credit are a long list of cinematography titles for both Hollywood
and the world of advertising. He is a Cannes Film Festival nominee and
co-winner of the Cleveland Film Festival’s Cris Award. During his
career, Joe has produced film segments for such noted names as Walt
Disney World, Epcot Center, the United States Army and the Kennedy Space
Center. He has also served in the roles of producer, director and
cameraman for a variety of prime time TV specials, television
commercials, public service announcements as well as authoring two
novels and serving as photographer for other authors.
But putting aside his stellar qualifications, Joe Hoover is also an
artist who captures the varied essences of the natural landscape,
animals or people, rendering for posterity glimpses of moments that
would otherwise have been lost. Not only does he rely upon his years of
military and commercial experience, but he also possesses an innate
sense of artistry in composing his photographs. Joe is a perfectionist
when it comes to capturing light and shadow, utilizing a level of
precision that one could liken to that of a scientist. There is a
symmetry and sense of drama in his landscapes that transport the viewer
to the site.
In essence, he has
drawn upon his combat training and professional talent as a documentary
photographer to make each of his photographs speak for itself. It is
here that his true artistry is seen.
Joe’s photographs are rendered in a variety of formats. He often shoots
in black and white in the tradition of such greats as Ansel Adams, or
his images appear in brilliant, yet natural color. On occasion, he will
enhance a black and white image by hand painting in the color, utilizing
a tradition that was once the only means of rendering color to film.
Regardless of how the image is produced, the photographs of Joe Hoover
evoke a variety of emotions from his audience. Most of his landscapes
simply leave the viewer enthralled or mystified while other images may
amuse or even provoke outright laughter.
A favorite subject medium is the great Southwest. Joe Hoover often
travels to remote areas seeking out distinct landscapes such as canyons,
mountains or even caverns where the play of light and shadow will render
memorable images. Today he works both with film and digital imagery in
the ever-changing world of technology, but never loosing sight of his
artistic goal of telling a story through capturing a moment in time.