“I grew up looking at National Geographic, learning about the world, and those things percolated in my brain over time.” Always drawn to photography, John Henley truly began experimenting with the medium while on a military tour in Europe, taking pictures of exquisite architecture. Through a sort of gradual osmosis, John became further immersed in photography and now teaches the subject at VCU and Virginia State University.
For John, photography provides an outlet for spontaneous creativity and a way to manifest projects permeating within his mind. “After a few years of working in traditional photography, I knew I wanted to make larger statements with my work.” It was around this time when John began working on his book, Artists, which became a 7 year project. This project became a homage to significant local artists, and a way for John to produce increasingly meaningful work. “Your work needs to start from within you, and resonate outward. With photography it’s important to know what you care about.”
While John continues to expand upon new photographic horizons he is always drawn back to his first love – the landscape. “My beginnings in landscape photography were with my father who was an outdoorsman. I learned that in some ways photography is like fishing. You go out with an intention to go to a beautiful place, and even if you don’t catch anything you're still in a beautiful place.” John’s intention is to express his love for nature and the outdoors through these captured moments.
More recently, John has begun a new series called Life Along the James River, which will be shot in black and white. “I’m not just looking for landscapes, I want to combine two things I love: landscapes and portraits. I want to find people who are involved with the river and photograph both.” John anticipates the project will span several years, with the goal of making people think outside of the box. Ultimately, he believes “art is a way of honoring those people and places that are important to me. There is this strong need to honor those things and express them creatively.”
John Henley studied Photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has worked for many years as an assignment photographer as well as producing personal work. He has showed his work in numerous galleries in and outside of the Richmond area.
His landscape photography reflects his love of nature and the outdoors.
He is currently teaching photography at Virginia Commonwealth University and showing his photography at Crossroads Art Center. He lives with his wife and their two dogs Lena and Anthony in his hometown of Richmond, Va.More of his work can be seen at www.johnhenleyphoto.com, and on Facebook and Instagram.