Stock’s photos selected for HofF

NINETY-SIX framed images by Jay Stock, master photographer, have been accepted for the permanent collection at the International Photography Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Mo.

This is yet another honor for the Martins Ferry man, who became the first photographer to exhibit his work in the U.S. Capitol and also had a photographic display at the White House. The exhibit in the Capitol included more than 125 limited edition prints including studies of African, European and American Indian peoples.

Stock’s photographs now in the International Photography HofF were exhibited in October and November of last year at the Stifel Fine Arts Center, Wheeling.

The HofF isn’t the only place that Stock’s 96 photographs are displayed. They’re in a handmade book, “The Wonderment of creative vision,” and that book is in the libraries of the nation’s 25 most prominent museums.

Stock’s creativity and originality in photography were praised by Alessandro Baccari, a curator, educator, photographer and author from San Francisco, after the Stifel Center exhibit.

In a letter to Stock, Baccari wrote, “Most amazing were the number of people who journeyed from so many states to see the show and to pay homage to your photographic artistry. It also impressed me to see the number of your students who came, expressing pride in your artistic achievements and gratitude for instilling in them an independence of mind for creating their own laws of composition so to bring originality to their photography.”

The collection in the HofF shows a variety of people, many from the peoples that Stock photographed on five continents.

Included among his subjects during his 68-year career are 45 American Indian tribes, 14 African tribes, mountain people, coal miners in the United States and South Wales, the Amish, Eskimos, cowboys, bullfighters, people in Central America, prison inmates, farmers and many other groups.

Baccari, who arranged the Stifel Center exhibit, noted that Stock is internationally acclaimed for his photographic images “which have been described as thoughtful, lyrical and perceptive. For more than 60 years, this former coal miner from Ohio and self-taught photographer has been traveling through life documenting with camera the lives of people. He creates images which have visual appeal and emotional content, images that have impact because of his awareness of the interrelationship of line, form and color.”

The HofF collection is a small sampling of Stock’s complete body of work and covers a range from 1946-2008.

Michael Scalf Sr., executive director of the HofF, sent a letter to Stock, telling how he had “always revered and honored your work” and how the HofF loved to take ownership of “this wonderful exhibit.”

Stock was the first person to receive the American Society of Professional Photographers International Award, and at that time, the organization’s president John Howell noted, in part, “As with all truly great photographers, Jay never stands still in his constant search for new ideas … new inspiration … new creativity. … But it is not just his vast talents, and intensity to creative achievement that make Jay the superb photographer he is. Far beyond that, it is because deep in his character, in his heart is his will to contribute his very best to the lives – to the welfare of others.”

His photos have been used in varied benefits to aid people suffering and needing help.

One of the few living members of the Photographic Hall of Fame, Stock is an associate in the American Society of Photographers, a fellow in the British Institute of Professional Photography, American Society of Photographers and Royal Society of Arts in addition to being a Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman.

Locally, he recently was inducted into the Martins Ferry Hall of Honor.

“The Wonderment of creative vision” is only one of several books featuring his artistry.

This master photographer, who will observe his 90th birthday anniversary this week, still has plans for further work this year.

He’s going to Amish country near State College, Pa., where Amish families not only open their homes to him but line up things for him to photograph.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons that Stock, when asked about which is his favorite photo, once commented, “Usually, the one I’ll take tomorrow.”

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