Getting Personal with NYFA Photography Alumnus John Tona


As a New York Film Academy Photography alumnus, who currently teaches at the school, John Tona, a New York native, noticed he was surrounded by a very diverse student body. After meeting and interacting with men and women from countries all over the world, Tona became fascinated and inspired to create his “(A)Typical Typology” project. Shot on film, each photo is identical in its approach.

photos from John Tona’s (A)Typical Typology

Through this photography series, Tona aims to capture a man and woman from 193 different countries, completely stripped of all their possessions. Each individual is without cultural elements such as clothing, jewelry, or other man-made products, leaving only the individual as the unique identifier. As a result, the lines of race and culture are de-emphasized, leaving us to consider the subjects more simply, as members of the human race.

His Typology project went on display in South Korea at both the Jeonju International Photo Festival and Art Space Artion.

Tona says he has captured individuals, many of whom were students at NYFA, from 39 countries thus far and plans to continue until he reaches his goal of 193.

art basel

photo by John Tona from “The Vacant Self”

Getting more personal, the photographer’s “The Vacant Self” project is, as Tona says, “a disenchanted look at emotional chaos and sexual dependency in an effort to come to terms with and coalesce a fragmented consciousness under the precarious frame of pictorial narrative.”

john tona

photo by John Tona from “The Vacant Self”

Though you may not know it, the work in this series captures a very personal chapter in Tona’s life, which he was able to express through his models and photography. One particular piece from this collection was on display in Art Basel, while another is currently being displayed at Brooklyn’s Photoville.

The Intimates

photo by John Tona from “The Intimates”

Tona says that while he’s closed the book on this chapter of his life, he’s currently moving forward with another personal series called “The Intimates.”

Be sure to check out Photoville, which is currently being held in Brooklyn from now until Sept. 25, where Tona and nineteen other NYFA Photography alumni photographs will be on display.


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Published on: September 22, 2016

Filled Under: Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights

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