John Running was born in Buffalo, New York in 1946. He moved
from New York to New Mexico to attend college, and after interrupting
his studies to serve in the US Marine Corps, completed his education there.
He now lives in Flagstaff Arizona. Running makes his life and livelihood
among the varied cultures in the vast physical beauty of the United States
Southwest as a freelance documentary and art photographer.
Running is best known for his work photographing the Navajo
people, the largest Native American nation. It is a nation threatened
by forced relocation as a result of the Navajo/Hopi land dispute. Originally,
photography served Running merely as a documentary tool - an asset to
his anthropological studies. "To see, to record, to comment, and to present..."
Increasingly, it became and today remains his main a love and livelihood.
In addition to still photography, which includes art photography and documentary
pictures which appear in textbooks, magazines and calendars, Running produces
educational documentary films. Their subjects have included: Spanish and
Indian culture in the United States, geology, weather, human behavior
and interaction, and cultural evolution.
John Running's credits range from "Time Magazine" to "Communications
Arts Magazine", to "Rocky Mountain Magazine". Clients for his art
photography and documentary work are located in the United States major
photography market's including, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. His
varied interests and projects sometimes take him away from the American
Southwest, to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador, the West Indies, and
Baja California. Projects there are varied, including: documentaries on
the daily lives of fishing families, in Trinidad, and an island in the
Sea of Cortez - for a book series entitled "Children of the Sea".
In 1979 and 1980 Running's work was featured in the Museum
of Northern Arizona. The curator, John F. Stetter wrote about John Running's
photography. He said it defies categorization. He acknowledged Running's
sensitivity and his ability to portray both an acute sense of the gravity
for the loss of human cultures, and an awareness of how the past and present
combine to shape the future. " Running is a photographer in the great
and difficult tradition of Curtis and Vroman, a tradition that demands
not only technical mastery and desire and dedication but that elusive
quality T.S. Eliot called the historical sense. Running's pictures are
characterized by stunning beauty and uncompromising integrity - a rare
blend of human dignity and ethnographic documentation."
Of Running's photographs, their place in the art community,
and their record of vanishing cultures and the people affected by the
advancement of civilization, Running comments, "... under careful scrutiny
a well captured image, or portrait, generally reveals itself to be a visual
representation of a deeply felt moment, as rich in psychological and emotional
meaning as a personal experience vividly recalled."
When John Running photographs portraits, he develops a mutual
trust with his subjects. He spends time with his subjects in their environments
to create a relaxed mood enabling sitters to "show" themselves to the
camera. He is able to dispel the self-consciousness that often accompanies
being photographed. Running's subjects bear the unique characteristics
of their individual personalities and position in society. Portraits are
powerful and sensitive, and demand a viewer's awareness and thought.
Of his art photography Running says, "Although my photographs may be a personal statement of sorts, they tend to be more of a statement about man." Running's art combines the talent of a social anthropologist's perception of cultural flux and change, with an artist's sensitivity to psychological power, aesthetic form, and composition.
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