American, b. 1949
Joe Maloney was a member of the stable of legendary photographers at LIGHT, the preeminent New York gallery of contemporary photography which included many notable photographers whose work in color helped revolutionize the acceptance of the medium. Maloney, along with Stephen Shore, Mitch Epstein, Carl Toth and others helped set the stage for today’s generation of photographers whose use of color is automatic and not necessarily a conscious choice. At a time when polychromatic images were radical and their validity fought over, Maloney found the subject matter closest to him, suburbia, the receding rural landscape and the cultural oddities that America had created of them bathed in sunlight of enormous emotional range and conflict. Maloney and his peers shared a rampant desire to go beyond the photographers that came before but to bring with them the lessons they learned at a time when it seemed few cared.
Many of his available prints are produced as archival pigment prints, though Maloney is primarily known for his premium vintage dye transfer prints, the now archaic process that Maloney preferred for its legendary color saturation, control and longevity. Feeling dismayed by the inability of photographic manufacturers to produce affordable materials of lasting quality, Maloney abandoned photography in the 1990s as he watched years of work literally fade away. The ability to salvage his negatives through scanning revived a vital, important and largely forgotten body of work, making it possible to produce prints of greater brilliance and variety than he could afford to in the past. Mining his archive released images that would otherwise have been consigned to history.