Liberating & Uplifting Self-Expression: Photography by RJ Jones

Our new exhibition of figurative and portrait photography by RJ Jones is now on view at the KickstART gallery through May 28th.

Join us on Thursday, April 21st, from 5-8 pm for a reception with the artist.

Artist’s Statement

No one’s “art,” however rare, popular, intricate, or eccentric, is for everyone. Therefore, I do not wish to imply that my photographic art is or might be liberating and uplifting to whoever views or experiences it. Rather, I wish to convey the idea that my photographic art is, first and foremost, liberating and uplifting to me because it’s helping me to slowly but steadily break the psychosociological chains of convention and conformity that, given my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, still so easily bind and beset me to this very day.

In other words, ever since I dared to fully embrace my passion for and obsession with photography in 2018, I’ve found nearly every studio session and image-making moment to be a profoundly therapeutic and self-authenticating moment for me, if no one else. Whether anyone deems one of my photographs to be beautiful, acceptable, or a “work of art” in any sense of the word, it remains not just a work of my spirit—i.e., self-expression in a general or generic sense—but more so a work on my spirit.

Naturally, whenever I collaborate with human subjects, my purpose isn’t just to make noteworthy images but to make a noteworthy impression on the people themselves. Indeed, my clear and central objective is to always so value and love on my human subjects as to encourage and inspire them to also express themselves in ways that are refreshingly liberating and uplifting to them, if not me or anyone else.

My wife, Cheryl Carvery-Jones, who’s truly the phenomenal woman of my dreams, is just as dedicated to being a positive presence in the lives of others. Moreover, she’s not only my ever-present muse and photography assistant, but her emotional and logistical support are essential elements to me manifesting my own photographic visions. Indeed, Michelle’s alopecia story is just one example of the many times that we have so synergized with another creative as to transform a mere photoshoot into “a courageous Yes! to one’s own being.”


Technically RJ Jones is a great photographer. But it is his passion, willingness, and ability to seek and discover beyond what his subjects initially are able to  offer as self … He speaks to, and captures the emotions that many of us refrain from revealing. There is a beautiful duplicity in his photos that are at once of a comfortable resolve, and of a gentle confrontation with self that is shared with the observer.  

In this way RJ Jones has become the essence of a true and successful artist. – KickstART Gallery Curator Ted Hadfield

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