Joan Dooley began her lifelong passion for photography in her home state of Massachusetts where she studied with noted photographer Ron Rosenstock, a student of Minor White. Joan has been honored and published often by such prestigious organizations as National Geographic, who granted her the World in Focus merit award, and Women in Photography International (WIPI) with whom she has shown yearly in juried exhibitions.
After earning an MA in Art History from UMass Amherst, Joan joined the J. Paul Getty Museum as Assistant Curator of Photographs, designing world-class exhibitions and publications. She later taught photography to thousands of LA’s inner-city teens, and her photo instruction program was the subject of several L.A. Times feature stories. She was recognized with many Teacher of the Year honors including a national award from the Center for Photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Under Joan’s tutelage, her students won numerous national awards, and were exhibited extensively including at the Getty Museum. She also arranged many workshops for them with noted photographers like Barbara Kruger, Julius Shulman and Eileen Cowin. Joan and her students created countless community–based photo projects including Humans of East LA (HUMELA.COM), funded by Tony Bennett’s Exploring the Arts foundation.
Joan was recently appointed Director of Studio Programs at Pasadena’s renowned Armory Center for the Arts where she oversees their art school instructing over 1,500 children and adults every year.
In this series Joan explores the concept of tone, and how it can accentuate and amplify mystery and mood. She is particularly interested in revealing the inner spirit and authentic narrative of her subjects by capturing sublime, quiet moments. Drawing inspiration from 19th century Romantic Luminist painters, she creates her poetic scenes both in camera and in postproduction, toning her images with layers of color and light to enhance emotional content. The result is a “tone poem” that allows for shades of meaning and interpretations.