Jeff Cathrow

Jeff Cathrow, Photographer
California-born photographer Jeff Cathrow fortuitously acquired a camera at an early age and it seems his eye was keen from the get-go.

Shooting film with a simple box camera on family vacations, Jeff’s focus gravitated towards historical sites and architectural subjects. From Spanish Colonial missions up and down California to the Alamo, Jeff carefully chose and composed each view before releasing the shutter. He advanced his technique to such a degree that he managed to do his subjects justice while still a budding young novice.

Gaining further inspiration from the stories and souvenirs his globe-trotting dad brought home from exotic locales, it’s no wonder that Jeff was bitten by the travel bug as well. By the early 1970s he was exploring destinations near and far with camera, film and tripod in tow. Jeff’s best travel souvenirs would often turn out to be those photos he took along the way. Little did he know when he started packing a camera on his early journeys that he would be snapping his way into the art world and finding a niche market to cultivate.

Entirely self taught, Cathrow delved into making Cibachrome (silver azo dye-bleach prints) as soon as the high quality Swiss process came on the market in 1975. Using his darkened kitchen as a makeshift darkroom, he made his first color prints from Kodachrome slides taken during a solo motorcycle journey to Baja California. Shortly thereafter, Jeff taught himself black-and-white printing as he frequented a rental darkroom near his home. By the late seventies he was turning out scores of both color and black and white prints from concerts he shot while following the Bay Area music scene. He sold prints to friends and fans and started getting published.

Inspired by two early masters of photography, Edward S. Curtis and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Cathrow journeyed to the Southwest to compose classical, artistic views of ancient Pueblo architecture---as Curtis had done earlier in the 20th Century---and later to France and Italy to follow the footsteps of Monsieur Cartier-Bresson. Such travels enabled Jeff to capture his own decisive moments and further develop his style of timeless monochromatic imagery.

Losing himself along the boulevards and back streets of Paris, Jeff found moody black and white images awaiting his lens amidst the perpetual gloom of his favorite city. He wandered through Spain, Morocco and Italy and explored myriad passageways to further capture romantic scenes on film. Back home in New Mexico, details of rusting railroad boxcars dampened by wet snow provided equally exotic visual fodder from which he created a large series of vivid abstracts.

Capturing the juxtaposition of shadows, light and color amidst these rough steel structures enabled him to produce a vast color portfolio, AbsTracktions---Art that Begins at the End of the Line that provided Cathrow his first real taste of success.

Acquisitions by the Birmingham Museum of Fine Art and the Oakland Museum gave Jeff the impetus for his return to California and directly pursue the large West Coast art market. Joining forces with Bay Area galleries and art consultants was his first move upon relocating and soon several big-name firms began adding Cathrow’s textured views of European architectural details and colorful railroad abstractions to their corporate art collections. He reinvested his profits in more travels abroad to expand both his perspective and his ever growing portfolio of viable imagery.

In 1995, Jeff Cathrow’s carefully silhouetted view of Prague (Karluv Most, Praha) taken atop the roof of a Medieval bridge tower was awarded 1st Place in Architecture in Focus IV, a nationwide photography competition held at the Oakland Museum.

By 2005, publishers in California, Canada, England, Japan and Switzerland had run editions of Cathrow’s work in everything from large posters, prints and art cards to magazine, album, and book covers distributed worldwide. Numerous solo and group exhibitions held throughout California (and group shows in London, Santa Fe and Kiev) gave Jeff’s work further well-deserved exposure and recognition.

More recently, Jeff’s focus turned towards an exploration of digital photography and image manipulation. During a 2011 trip to Northern New Mexico, Cathrow started tracking down the numerous filming locations of a popular television series (Breaking Bad) which was being filmed throughout New Mexico. Over a two year period, he traversed his former home state to seek out these sites often replete with perpetually magnificent skies and enchanting desert landscapes.In his “digital darkroom,” Jeff radically altered the resulting images and added his personal touch.

The show was filled with suspenseful plot twists and turns and Jeff’s digital wizardry and visual exaggerations served to propel these moods a full step further. Via graphic color shifts, extreme saturation and assorted digital sleight-of-hand tricks, Jeff’s Breaking Bad Filming Locations Project materialized as an extensive portfolio of colorful yet surrealistic vignettes that garnered the attention of both Breaking Bad fans and art lovers worldwide.

Today, Cathrow is busy documenting the extensive hurricane damage in South Texas where he now resides---yet his compelling portraits of twisted metal and broken buildings vividly convey these bizarre forms imbued with his unique style of artistry---further revealing an eye well-honed by decades of chasing shadows, textures and light around the world.

Louis Ferreira portrayed Declan in the series Breaking Bad in episodes "Buyout" (season 5, episode 6), "Say My Name" (season 5, episode 7) and "Buried" (season 5, episode 10). Jeff did a series of photos of the area used to film the exterior scenes at Declan's compound which is featured in Buried, as well as the road leading to the meeting place in the desert in the first two episodes. Louis loves Jeff's photographs and proudly displays the "Declan Series" in his home.

You can view Jeff's photography from the "Declan Series" as well as read an exclusive interview with Jeff that was featured in Ferreira Fest 54 on the Jeff Cathrow Interview Page.

To purchase turquoises from Jeff's gem stone collection please go to his webpage on eBay.
Go to Jeff Cathrow's "Declan Series" and interview.

Go to Jeff Cathrow's Breaking Bad Art Photography Gallery.

Go to Jeff Cathrow's Photo Documentary From Landfall to Snowfall.
Here are some of Jeff's non-Breaking Bad Photography Art Prints. Click on the thumbnails to go to the websites where you may purchase a poster-sized copy.

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You can purchase several of these art prints on Amazon.
Two of Jeff's architectural photos have been added to the online catalog of the Birmingham Museum of Art:
After the Rain, Acoma, New Mexico
by Jeff Cathrow  1977
The Arch, Taos, New Mexico
by Jeff Cathrow  1977
Medium: gelatin silver print
Gifts of Rena Hill Selfe, 1988.
Birmingham Museum of Art

Check out Jeff Cathrow's page on Tumblr.

Browse Jeff's page on eBay.

"Here is a snapshot I took of a white pineapple* which I bought at the Mamo St. Farmer's Market  in 1997 (Hilo, HI).  The photo was taken at South Point on the Big Island later that day and it insisted on wearing shades (to protect its identity, I suppose). 
It was eaten later that evening, as I recall."

- Jeff Cathrow
  *Note: The subject of this photo was officially named Declanito in July 2015.

The Fruition Series

"The Fruition Series was born out of the combination of Ferreira Fest's use of my Declanito pineapple image in the Friends News section and a recent, purely by-chance "find" at a local garage sale---a  brand-new Bohemian crystal pineapple shaped serving platter with its Irish glassware company's little brochure still tied to its neck.  It gave me an idea.
The moment I saw that oversized pineapple sparkling in the Texas sun I immediately thought of Louis's predilection for All Things Pineapple---and how coming across it was meant to be for me.  Without hesitation I made an offer to the nice lady selling a few knick-knacks scattered around her garage and driveway and she accepted it without hesitation (I suppose it must have been some sort of gift that was quietly stashed away in a cupboard and forgotten about).
A minute later I was back on my scooter with an Irish-Slovakian crystal pineapple carefully resting between my feet on the flat floorboard.  I knew I would be utilizing it not so much for a fruit tray on the kitchen counter but another pineapple image that I could specifically create for the amusement of fellow FF followers as well as FF (For Fun)!
I emailed Bea and let her know that I had just discovered the existence of Irish-Slovakian pineapples in South Texas and that I would send proof in a few days, no kidding.
She didn't believe me at first and mentioned that I must be under the influence of some medication for a summer cold. Obviously.  Since when did pineapples ever grow in Ireland---or Slovakia---right?
Fast-forward to a couple of days later when the weather was perfectly appropriate here in Tropical Texas for Proof of Pineapple Photography:
I grabbed my new pineapple and camera and headed down to our local beach.  A few puffy Hawaiian-style clouds lingered all along the horizon.  I parked the pineapple next to a little palapa and began shooting a few "piña pix" to the consternation of a few beachgoers nearby.
Thus began my Fruition Series, a tongue-in-cheek look at fruits and vegetables and their motifs found in everyday life.
I have a hunch that the emphasis will remain focused on pineapples for the foreseeable future around here (don't ask me why).
I already have an idea for another Fruition image that should hopefully be ready for next month's FF, too.  Now if I can just keep this sun-loving creature from hopping down to the beach..."

- Jeff Cathrow,  October 2015


Irish-Slovakian Pineapple

In the New World

Arrival in Margaritaville

Der Heisenapple

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