BELL | IMAGES                     fine art photography by Jan Bell


American Frame
Argo Hytos (United States)
The Electric Quilt Company
Health Care REIT (Corporate Headquarters)
Howard Bond, Private Collection
James Marr, Private Collection
Kopps Frozen Custard
Toledo Museum of Art, "Agave"
University of Michigan
University of Toledo
Weinhardt & Logan Law Offices
Westin Hotels

Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography, Canton, OH
Henry Miller Gallery, Big Sur, CA
The Hudson Gallery, Sylvania, OH
John Rehner Gallery, Lakewood, OH
Museum Store, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH

2017 - Expressive Photography Workshop. Instructor: Alan Ross
           Mr. Ross assisted Ansel Adams from 1974-1984,
           and continues to print from several of his negatives.
2012 - Personal Printing Workshop
2011 - Luminous Print Workshop. Instructor John Sexton
           Mr. Sexton assisted Ansel Adams from 1979-1984
2010 - B&W Photo Techniques, Clyde Butcher,
           National Center for Nature Photography
2009 - NAPP Photoshop Workshop
2008 - NAPP Photoshop Workshop
2007 - NAPP Photoshop Workshop
2006 - Digital Printing for the Fine Art Photographer
           Ansel Adams Gallery/Workshop, Yosemite.
           Instructor: Charles Cramer (5 days)
2006 - NAPP Photoshop Workshop
2005 - NAPP Photoshop Workshop
2004 - NAPP Photoshop Workshop
2004 - Epson Digital Printing Workshop
2003 - Advanced Photoshop, Adobe Systems, Inc.


by Stephen B. McNulty, Curator,
The Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography

Jan Bell was precisely the rare find we were searching for when we launched our first Canton Luminaries Photography Competition. Bell is a true talent, one that has put forth the time to understand the fine art of photography, to master the techniques, and to hone his skills as a capture artist as well as a print artist.   Read more. The meticulously crafted prints in Jan's repertoire are the result of calculated, pre-visioned compositions replete with the depth, reverence, ingenuity, and discipline of a skilled artisan. Jan uses everything at his disposal: light, tone, texture, line, and geometry, even transcending to color compositions when justified, to produce crisp, compelling, arresting images. Jan has gone to great lengths (and great personal expense) to study under contemporary masters like John Sexton, Clyde Butcher, and the professionals at The Ansel Adams Gallery, Epson, and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

In 2010, Jan was the recipient of the prestigious Ansel Adams Gallery award as well as a Curator's Choice and Best of Show award in our Canton Luminaries Competition; the latter winning Jan representation with our gallery.
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by Tom Wachunas

The world is not necessarily best, and certainly not always, viewed through rainbow lenses. Case in point: the current showing of approximately 40 photographs by Jan Bell in his exhibit called "An Intimate View" at The Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography.   Read more.

Yes, there are marvelous color photographs here that, as the show's title indicates, present intimate, very close-up visions from nature, all of them masterfully crisp and arresting. "Ripples on Water", for example, with its intricate clusters of tiny white ridges afloat in luscious cerulean wavelets, is startlingly faithful to reality while being a stunning abstraction.

But for truly compelling visions of texture, tonality, and formal drama, Bell's black and white photographs soar where color would seem to be a distraction. A monochromatic world, as so superbly demonstrated here, is neither boring nor complacent. His images, both from natural and urban settings, are eminently poetic and riveting. Many of them bring to mind the sleek sensuality of Edward Weston's work, or the powerful visual majesty in the work of Ansel Adams.

Savor the undulating curves and sumptuous wrinkles of sand in "Dune Waves", or the eerie tactility of "Resting Boulder". Who knew a rock could speak such depth and mystery, or that grey areas could be so intense? There are myriad secrets in that surface tattooed by eons of geologic change.

Call me unashamedly old school, but sometimes I think our love affair with color can sabotage real, thoughtful seeing. The idea that black and white photography could reveal the deepest essence or spirit of a thing might seem too counter-intuitive, high-flown, and/or obsolete to some viewers and practitioners. Thankfully, this is one show that offers clear, engaging, and beautiful evidence to the contrary.
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by Bonnie Blankinship, Communications Manager, BGSU

For the last 10 years, photographer Jan Bell has been building a reputation with audiences who have been drawn to his pristine, meticulously crafted images of natural subjects, and more recently, urban forms, often shown in tight close-up.

Bell's work recently debuted on the national stage when he won the Grand Prize from the Ansel Adams Gallery for his black and white photo "Agave." Shot in California, the image reveals the delicate striations in the succulent's leaves in soft, pure grays, its curved shapes punctuated by the sharp spike of the flower stalk.

In asking viewers to pause and consider the beauty of the plant, the photo promotes the gallery's mission to cultivate artistic appreciation of and concern for the natural world. Operated by Adams' heirs, it is located in Yosemite,
in a former 1902-era hut owned by his wife's family.

Unlike the iconic photographer, who for over 60 years documented some of America's most spectacular wilderness landscapes, Bell tends to work with a more intimate view. "Like Adams, I observe a world that is often overlooked due to our hurried lives," he says.

His body of work is also notable for its clean, elegant design. "I tend to eliminate unnecessary clutter in a composition," Bell said, attributing his aesthetic in part to his 30-year career as a graphic designer at Bowling Green State University. "The elements of graphic design have a huge influence in my photography work," he said.

Like Adams, Bell is an avid adventurer, and treks to remote locations throughout the U.S. in search of subjects. It is this time in the wilderness that allows him to connect with the land and compose his images, he said. His presentation illustrates his attention to detail-which has paid off, for example, in "Trees in Fog," a mystical image of slender tree trunks taken in the Presidio area of San Francisco. Bell rebooked a plane flight so he could return to the spot at the early morning moment when the light was right to capture their ephemeral nature. Unfortunately, the trees have since been removed, Bell said.

Bell has a number of landscapes in his collection,
from dramatic Death Valley dunes to stark mountain scenes, some in remote places accessible only by guide.
Like his nature work, his urban photographs represent architecture such as Chicago's Marina City and landmarks like the St. Louis Arch in terms of shape, pattern, texture and most of all, light.

The Ansel Adams Gallery award tops a list of prizes for Bell. Also in 2010, he was awarded two top prizes in a competition held by the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography in Canton, Ohio. He has frequently taken Best of Show awards in juried art fair shows from Ann Arbor to St. Louis and Chicago. The University of Michigan acquired four of his prints, and his work is displayed in the Argo Hytos Co. corporate office.