INDEX: The material for the Index collages come from a collection of books entitled Our Wonder World published in the 40s. The finished collages are housed between the recycled covers of one of the books.



PRACTICE: I am intrigued by what is left behind, what is lost and what is found, and how the photographic process engages the various meanings and reinventions that result from the investigation of this detritus or remnant. This is not an unusual approach, but it is of particular interest to me.

My goal is to think more about what I have and what I can do with it, and do so through contemplation, engagement, and execution. To investigate the intersections of the photographic medium with that of other media by utilizing simple, discarded and forgotten objects as subject, and explore in greater depth the subject and the materiality of the medium.

Purity of the photographic medium, or any other, does not interest me. I see the photograph and the photographic process as a way to engage in various methodologies regarding the act of art making through the more suggestive and poetic qualities of the process and resultant work.

I make photographs from very basic things, common things, and do so in common places. I have always shied away from the exotic and prefer to rely on things close at hand. I rarely travel any great distance to photograph and I work economically with minimum fuss. I consider photography to be a pliable and malleable medium and do not hold any preconceived notions as to what a photograph should look like, nor how it should be made.


Joel Whitaker is an artist and educator who lives in Dayton, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in Art from the University of Montevallo, Montevallo, Alabama and a Master of Fine Art in Studio Art from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. In 1990 he held a one-year appointment as a visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa and in 1993 he joined the faculty of the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, where he currently holds the rank of Professor. He has over 20 years experience in visual arts higher education, arts administration and community service and over 30 years experience in the making of photographs and photo related works. He has remained active in photography through his teaching, ongoing study of the medium, development of photographic projects, and the pursuit of exhibition outlets. In 2009 he was one of eight Ohio photographers selected to participate in a NEH funded re-photographic survey of FSA photographs of Ohio. In 2008 his work was highlighted in the Elements of Photography, and in 2006, his work was selected for inclusion in Photography Now/One Hundred Portfolios – An International Survey of Contemporary Photography. His work is in several public collections, has been exhibited extensively in the US, and received several state, regional, and university grants.