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Monday, January 22, 2007
Mariemont photographer offers works as gift to the village


Perhaps it's the brumous serenity of his tree-enveloped street. Or, it could be the way sunbeams slant between gnarled vines on the stone concourse. Then again, it could be the town's Dutch-inspired architecture and stunning gardens.

Photographer Joe Stoner doesn't know why he photographs Mariemont, only that he's been enchanted by the village's charm for more than 20 years.

And in what he calls his to Mariemont, Stoner has now made his collection of village photographs available on his website, www.joe-stoner.com.

After completing graduate school in bio-medical communications at the University of Cincinnati in the early 1980s, Stoner and his wife found themselves drawn to Mariemont. Stoner says he liked that the village closely resembles an English village they lived in for a year.

The unique thing about Mariemont is that it wasn't just built as a bedroom community, he explained. It was a planned community for working families to get out of the city.

During his daily walks, the photographer says he is constantly struck by the town's quiet beauty.

It is so serene, said Stoner, who cites the town's concourse overlooking a bluff amongst his favorite spots. It's almost like being in the country, but its 20 minutes from downtown.

Interested in photography since childhood, Stoner's constant companion is a 35mm Nikon which he uses to document Mariemont's seasons, memories and history. And although he offers high-quality, large-scale printing service, Stoner says he isn't in it for the money.

[Print work] supports my habit, he said with a laugh.

Categorized by season, Stoner's oeuvre features the town's changing landscapes, its architecture, people and landmarks. Especially drawn to macro photography of flowers and nature shots, his interests reflect his medical training.

I like nature because it's mathematical nature, he said. I like patterns of color, shape and form.

Stoner also shoots fractal photography, characterized by geometric shapes which mimic magnification and dilatational symmetry in nature.

Earning him honors in state-sponsored competitions, the Taft Museum and the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Stoner's fractal works can be found in the private collections of Cincinnati Bell and the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine.

But the Mariemont resident says he doesn't have any plans to move from his Dutch colonial just yet.

I look out over the bluff across from my house and see the river and twinkling lights, he said. And it's almost like living in a New York penthouse.

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Joe Stoner stands in his home studio. The Mariemont photographer says he offers photographs on his website, www.joe-stoner.com, as a gift to the village. Photo provided