J Paul Lisseck – A Short Photographic Bio

Like many others I received my first ‘serious’ camera from my father. That was 1964. I was a senior in high school. I still have this camera.

Later at Cornell University my roommate got his hands on a German-made camera.  We built a darkroom in our bathroom and spent many nights printing our fledging work. My roommate also was a musician in a hot band. This gave me the opportunity take shots of the emerging local rock scene.

In ‘69 I shot the cover of the Cornell Alumni Magazine. The theme was on ‘The Counter Culture’. My photo, tame by today’s standards, caused an up-roar among a number of alumni. Many canceled their subscriptions.

The next years were spent finding my way in work and photographically. I photographed bands that were semi-famous, promos of would-be movie starlets, and once even found myself photographing Marlon Brando’s wife!

In the early 70’s, living in New York City, my apartment was robbed and everything was taken, including all my camera gear.

In ‘75 I traveled to India to study yoga and philosophy. While there I met a musician and painter. I admired his work. It reinvigorated the ‘artist’ in me.

On returning I moved to Tucson where, fortuitously, I met someone who I believe may be an ‘Undiscovered Master’ of photography. We spent many days in the Sonoran Desert where I attempted to see beyond the ubiquitous picture-perfect ‘Arizona Highways’ calendar-style photos.

In the mid-90’s, I moved to Amherst. I began work on making collage-style prints by ‘sandwiching’ slides together and copying them onto 4 x 5 inter-negative film. This work was shown at various galleries including a two-person show at the APE Gallery in Northampton, and a two-person at the Newton Public Library.

More recently I have been transitioning from my trusty non-digital camera to a newer digital one. I feel the prints I am now making are among some of the best work I have ever produced.

There are nine of the first digital photos I made on permanent display in Park City, Utah at the Dancing Hands Gallery.