I first heard about Jason Langer while listening to an interview on the Thoughts on Photography podcast by Paul Giguere a few weeks ago. The interview was quite fascinating and it got me interested in his work, so as soon as I got home I visited his website and spent some time checking out his photography. Man, am I glad it did it. His work is truly exceptional.
Since I discovered him I’ve been so fascinated by his work that I just had to share it. Jason Langer is a remarkable black and white photographer with a very distinct style that I particularly like. His “Secret City” series is fascinating, a supberb combination of story and composition with an undeniable mastery of the art of black and white.
The series Figures is a beautiful study of human form, but quite different from anything I’ve seen before. The interplay between the figure and the environment is almost magical. And then there’s a series you can only see in a gallery called The Vedas which I can only assume would be fascinating.
I’m now on a mission to see his work in the flesh and have ordered the book. I’ll also be on the lookout for an opportunity to see a gallery exhibition because, given his background, the prints will undoubtedly be spectacular. This is the kind of work that I would love to own.
I can’t think of a better way of presenting him and his work that the bio on his website, so here’s an excerpt taken from it. I encourage everyone to go take a look. If you like black and white photography it will be worth your while.
Jason Langer is a masterful black-and-white photographer who has learned the importance of self-expression and following his own path. In high school, he decided he wanted to pursue photography as a career. He was inspired by the beautiful black-and-white images of Michael Kenna, and had the opportunity to meet this renowned photographer.
As an undergraduate at the University of Oregon, Langer stayed in touch with Kenna, and sent images to him on a regular basis. After graduation, he jumped at the chance to work for Kenna as his first assistant at his studio in San Francisco. “I learned more in four months from him than I did in four years as a photography student,” states Langer, who was an apprentice for this accomplished photographer for five years. When Langer finished his apprenticeship with Kenna, he began to balance commercial and personal work and found that doing his personal work was much more satisfying than commercial photography. Soon Langer made contact with art gallery owners, dealers and collectors, and began showing his fine-art images.
He describes his photographic style as “poetic, contemplative, noir, symbolist, and open-ended in interpretation.” Langer says that symbolists are less interested in naturalistic interpretation and details than they are in creating allegory for mental and emotional states of being. “I feel that people prefer to create their own story and find their own meaning, instead of having it spelled out for them,” he points out. “I’m also interested in emotional states—but in a way where a viewer finds his or her own emotions.” His subjects are usually portrayed in a somewhat anonymous manner, with faces turned away from the camera or blurred. Conversely, Langer seeks to do the opposite with inanimate objects. He portrays the expressions of statues and mannequins as being “emotions frozen in time.”
By Lynn Eodice, Double Exposure, 2006
A sincere thank you to Paul Giguere for introducing me to Jason Langer’s work. Paul’s podcast is one of my favourites: personal, candid, and always interesting. Strongly recommended.
To find out more about Jason Langer: