About the artist

About the artist

John Maloney grew up in West Los Angeles and, although he briefly studied at the Art Institute and at Chinouard School of Art as a teen-ager, he is largely self-taught as a painter and photographer. After graduating from St. Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., he settled in the San Francisco Bay Area and worked at the Oakland Tribune, as an English teacher in San Francisco and in public relations. He has also been editor of two national magazines (American Collector and Antiques USA). He now lives in Martinez, Calif., and works as a journalist in Walnut Creek, Calif.

His photography has been featured in Horticulture Magazine, Nevada Magazine, American Collector and other publications, and his paintings have been exhibited in galleries in Orinda and Walnut Creek. Maloney has specialized in flower photography for nearly 20 years.

In 1984, Horticulture Magazine featured a portfolio of his flower photos and explained them this way:

"While copying some 35-millimeter color slides with his camera, John Maloney whimsically popped a stray leaf into his duplicator to see what it would look like. Soon he was experimenting with whole flowers, petals, leaves, tendrils, whatever was small enough to sandwich between the two layers of glass in his slide duplicator. When he aimed his camera at the sun and took a picture, the film recorded a 1:1 image of the light passing through whatever the sandwich contained. "...Such advancements in technique often bring with them new aesthetic possibilities -- here, a fresh mix of form and color. "For several years now Maloney has been accumulating photographs of sandwiched plants. His equipmetn is still an inexpensive screw-on slide duplicator and a diffuser, his light source the sun. What has emerged is a highly personal collection of anonymous photographs. No records exist of what went into these pictures of where they were taken, though Maloney says they are all California plants, some gathered from his garden, some picked up on is walks in the hills. ... There is no way to determine before you try it how a leaf or petal will look in the viewfinder. Such are the uncertainties and rewards of experimental photography."

Today, Maloney works with a variety of formats and sizes not limited to the 1:1 ratio, but the goal is still crisp butterfly-view images of floral beauty. Pursuing that beauty combines two of his avid interests: hiking and photography. As author of the 1981 book "Vintage Cameras and Images," now out of print, Maloney knows that flower photography has a long history. The very first photo ever made was produced in 1826, when photography pioneer Joseph Niepce made a fuzzy image of his garden. Ever since, flowers have been a common photographic subject. But they've always been troublesome: waving in the wind, hard to keep in focus, available only seasonally. After nearly 20 years of experimenting, Maloney has found ways to get flower images on his own terms.

Now, the flower "transparencies" are blossoming as digital prints, available in editions of only 25 per image, signed, numbered and matted. The Web site exhibits will change periodically, and a greater variety of print types may become available in the future, as well as notecards featuring the flower images. The photographer can be reached at john@maloneygallery.com.

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