Finding the extraordinary in things commonplace is a talent Jack Jackowetz has perfected. He captures moments before they’re gone – moments he knows are worth remembering.
“I don’t re-create what wasn’t there,” said the 51-year-old artist from Brantford, Ontario, Canada. “I only take what’s there today and capture it so now we have it forever. It’s a jumping off point for memories to be rekindled.”
But he has a unique way of documenting these moments in time. Jackowetz feels photos are “rather harsh” because they portray reality, and says people tend to surround themselves with paintings instead. A photographer at heart, he has found a way to blend the two mediums.
“Not a lot of people are doing exactly what I’m doing,” he said of his “post-impressionism photography.” Although people describe his work as “paintings,” they are photographs enhanced with computer software to look like paintings.
During high school, he discovered his passion for taking pictures. He knew he’d love to pursue it as a career, but “got cold feet” and opted for a business degree instead.
After nearly 30 years in the corporate world, Jackowetz decided it was time to take care of some unfinished business. “This need to express myself went unmet, so one day I decided to go back and fulfill it.”
With some money saved and a vision in mind, Jackowetz began crafting his art in 2004. Finding inspiration in familiarity, he discovered hidden beauty in places he often visited. Although his home is a great distance from the Finger Lakes, the region has captivated him. The first time he accompanied his son to Cornell University where he studies, he was struck by the scenery and the buildings.
“It was just like going back in time,” Jackowetz said. “Everything was perfectly preserved. The buildings weren’t run down, they weren’t boarded up – they were being used. It was wonderful to see communities embrace their past and make it a vital part of the present.”
Jackowetz has found when people see his work, including images of Seneca Lake and the Smith Opera House in Geneva, memories begin rushing back. “When I meet people, they start telling me about their experiences with a particular building or location,” he said. “It’s about taking you back and bringing back memories.”
Jackowetz compared the resurrected memories to a Google search.
“If we’re looking for something on the Internet, we use Google and we type in words,” he said. “My images kind of do the same thing, but instead, the search tool for inspiration is the image. You look at my work and that gets your mind searching for memories to recreate that moment from years ago.”
Jackowetz’s work can be seen at the Geneva Coffee House, Finger Lakes Gallery & Frame in Canandaigua, The Corners Gallery in Ithaca and Savannah House Inn in Himrod.
For more information, visit www.jjackowetz.com.
by Kimberly Price