:: about me

Hi, I'm Joe Kallo!

You’re here for the photography, not to hear about my ace cooking skills, so: I shot and developed my first roll of film (Tri-X, shot on a Canon AE-1!) in the summer of 1991. I have a PhD in Philosophy with a specialization in aesthetics, and my dissertation dealt extensively with the unique qualities of photography as a creative endeavor. I run and walk a whole bunch, and I often carry a camera with me when I do. One of the only times I have not finished an ultramarathon race I was running was specifically due to the fact that I was on one of the most beautiful trails in the world (Superior Hiking Trail, MN), and it was a very photogenic day. I live in Chicago with my partner in all adventures, two very photogenic cats, and Samwise the Brittany.

Photographic Philosophy

Human self-consciousness, the fact that we are aware that we are aware, comes with some well documented problems. We tend to ignore or miss the upsides of this, as far as we know, unique trait. Here’s one: when I perceive something that moves me, I have the option of attempting to convey that to you. There are many such methods of conveyance, and most of them are what we call art. Some of these methods of conveyance are complex and involved, and some are effortless and simple. Two that I find fall into the latter category are poetry and photography. For me, photography is more like Basho writing a haiku when he sees a frog plop into a pond (one advantage of poetry over photography: no missed shots) and less like Tolstoy writing War & Peace.


I absolutely love making prints, and my photographs are nearly always taken with an actual physical print in mind. As we get more accustomed to enjoying photography online, we forget that it is a pale imitation of the beauty of a well-made physical photograph. Prints are available of nearly all images on the site. Depending on the image, prints are made in either my traditional darkroom (both black & white and color) or archivally printed from a digital image. Because of the large number of variables, please email me and we can discuss details.

Camera stuff

It’s probably not surprising, given the above, that I prefer the simplest of photographic methods: a rangefinder camera and almost always one of two prime lenses. A photograph, for me, will always be a piece of paper with an image on it. Photos on screens are handy and nice, but for me they are fast food to a print’s home cooked meal. Sometimes necessary, never sufficient. Concrete details? I shoot Leicas, and I almost always use either a 35mm Summaron or a 50mm Summicron. My photographs are shot on film that I develop in my darkroom. I nearly always make prints on a Canon pigment dye printer, but I do occasionally still wet print in the darkroom.