Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Mar 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Ron Jones: Lens Craft

ae2 jonesPrizefighter handsome, Ron Jones has been making pictures most of his life.

A classic California dreamer, he's taken his camera all over the world—through the adventure years of the ’70s and ’80s, and the belt-tightening ’90s, up to present-day. With his edgy mix of skill and luck, Jones’ career has managed to weather divorce, recessions, client vagaries and the digital revolution. Through 30 years in Santa Cruz, Jones has amassed a long list of clients from academia, the corporate realm and the arts. Their satisfaction has been won by his exceptional eye, and his ability to wait, relax, and engage with his subjects. For all his physical intensity, this photographer is a man with a great, sensitive heart.

“Yeah, and I know I'm a dinosaur,” he says with a chuckle. He’s an avowed devotée of the old-school Ansel Adams template, where the darkroom was the magic chamber and the photographic process was all finesse, no Photoshop. “The transition to digital was one of the hardest things I've ever done,” he admits with exasperation. “I loved the alchemy that happens in the dark room. Now I spend more time on the computer than I do actually taking pictures.”

Surrounded by riveting faces—his black and white images taken in Java, Mexico, Bali, Thailand, and Laos—Jones laments that he’s stopped travelling as much since “UC lost its money in 2007.” The university was his main client, he explains, and commercial work supported his international documentary work. Until it didn't.

“I thought I was going to be Irving Penn or Diane Arbus,” he says, flashing a broad grin. And indeed, his work is part of collections from SFMOMA to Stanford to a current exhibit at UC Santa Barbara.

A native of Houston, Jones left Texas at the age of 19.

“My parents kicked me out when I didn't accept a full scholarship for college football,” he says. Surfing beckoned, and after spending summers in California and Mexico, Jones moved to San Diego, where a photo class at Palomar Junior College changed his life. Flash forward through divorce, a girl from Santa Cruz and becoming a father. He hung out in Carmel, became friends with the Westons and met photographer Paul Schraub, with whom he worked for many years and still shares a studio in downtown Santa Cruz.

Jones is the official photographer for Kuumbwa, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and a long list of steady clients.

Faces are the heart of Jones’ work. “You get real close to the people,” he says, moving a few inches from my face. “I look for the accidental. Some of the best photos I've ever gotten were when things went wrong.”

Like when the subject failed to show up, when he was too slow preparing his camera, when he had to improvise. “So you just travel on,” he says. “Get in the car and go get the picture you never planned.”

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Crop Circles

How the confusion over GMOs is undermining the organic movement

 

Week of Festivals: Full Moon, Lantern Festival, Purim, Holi

It is a week of many different festivals along with a full moon, all occurring simultaneously. Thursday Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival (at full moon). Thursday is also the Pisces Solar festival (full moon), Purim (Jewish Festival) and Holi (Hindu New Year Festival). Sunday, March 8, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. The festival of Purim celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew people from the cruel Haman (a magistrate) seeking to destroy them. Esther, the Queen of Persia, who was secretly Jewish, saved her people from death. The sweet cookie hamentaschen celebrates this festival. Friday, March 6, is Holi, the Hindu Spring Festival celebrated after the March full moon. Bonfires are lit the night before, warding off evil. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is the most colorful festival in the world. It is also the Festival of Love—of Radha for Krishna (the blue-colored God). It is a spring festival with singing, dancing, carnivals, food and bhang, a drink made of cannabis leaves. Holi signifies good over evil, ridding oneself of past errors, ending conflicts through rapprochement (returning to each other). It is a day of forgiveness, including debts. Holi also marks the beginning of New Year. At the Pisces Solar festival we recite the seed thought, “We leave the Father’s home and, turning back, we save.” Great Teachers remain on Earth until all of humanity is enlightened. The New Group of World Servers is called to this task and sacrifice. Sacrifice (from the heart) is the first Law of the Soul, the heart of which is Love. This sacrifice saves the world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of March 6

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Water Street Grill

YOLO gets reincarnated

 

What would make Santa Cruz better?

A lot more outdoor activities such as outdoor movies and concerts, food and art festivals, and more multicultural activites. Emmanuel Cole, Santa Cruz, Bicycle Industry Product Developer

 

Thomas Fogarty Winery

When looking for a bottle of something to have with dinner, Gewürztraminer 2012 is not the first wine to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir—to name but a few—Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole.

 

So Long, Louie’s

Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar closes, plus Back Porch pop-up, and 2015 Outstanding in the Field tour