The Spiritual, the Subconscious, the Dream: John Santerineross

'Dream' © John Santerineross Photography

John Santerineross is an American photographer with a background in ceramics and painting. He is considered to be a “neo-symbolist“, an artist that continues or reinterprets the 19th century art movement Symbolism. Like it’s predecessor, neo-symbolism focuses on the spiritual, the subconscious, and dreams. Santerineross’ unique style and content has inspired an entire new generation of artists; his complex aesthetic is derived from a combination of his exposure to Catholicism and Santeria and by his fascination with Greek mythology, world religions and iconography.

'Shadow dance' © John Santerineross Photography

Born in 1955 in New York City, he lived most of this life in the northeast and now works out of Athens, Georgia. He is known for his dark, erotic images and has been shown both nationally and internationally, from the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival to the Galleria de-Arte Moderna Contemporanea in Bondeno, Italy. His most extensive show to date, showing 22 of his 28” x 32” photographic images, was his solo exhibition at KFMK Gallery (NYC) in June 2006, while his work was most recently seen in Le Cabinet des Curieux in Paris, France and in Mondo Bizzarro Gallery in Rome Italy, both in 2010.

'Shades of the death' © John Santerineross Photography

'Between human and God' © John Santerineross Photography

Santerineross has been influenced and inspired by image-makers such as Irina Ionesco and Jan Saudek.  He started taking photographs in 1994, and his first 5 years of work resulted in the 1999 release of his first book, Fruit of the Secret God. Published in a limited number and filled with the dark, erotic images that would become his signature, it is now a collector’s item. His second book, Dream, was published in 2004 and serves as an exploration of John’s dream imagery and iconography through the use of the photographic medium. While all of his early photographs were all taken with a medium format Mamiya RB67, John now shoots digitally with a Nikon D7000.

'The symbolism of the elements' © John Santerineross Photography

'Ma-Ku' © John Santerineross Photography

John Santerineross’ artistic career is based on commitment, integrity, passion and dedication.  He is an artist who does not like to be classified or categorized and prefers to let the viewer decide and define.  This open-ness has allowed viewers to interpret his work in every manner imaginable. From “the world’s leading Neo-symbolist artist” by PROFIFOTO, Germanys leading photography magazine, to an “artistic assassin who wants to artistically assassinate Christianity, especially Catholicism” in Bill Donohue’s newest book “Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America”, in which Santerineross is honored to be mentioned along with several groundbreaking artists including Andres Serrano, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Cindy Sherman.

'Mirror pool' © John Santerineross Photography

Despite the wide range of responses to his art, John never elucidates his imagery for fear of limiting viewers’ personal interpretation. He is influenced by the early symbolists’ belief that “the creation of a mood is as important as the transmission of information; (it must also) seek to engage the entire mind and personality of the viewer by appealing to the viewer’s emotions and unconscious mind, as well as to their intellect.”

'Mimic of Ar-Rakib' © John Santerineross Photography

To view more work from John Santerineross, visit his website here.


  1. Douglas Barkey

    Thank you for this review of John Santerineross. His work is fascinating and your review provides a good summary. His style reminds of of Joel Peter Witkin.

  2. Anonymous

    The work is sooo beautiful.

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