Biography – Henry Jesionka

Henry Jesionka was an early pioneer of digital imaging long before Photoshop existed, adeptly utilizing image processing techniques in his collaboration with Jack Goldstein on his paintings made in the mid-1980s.

Born in 1957 in the Niagara Region of Canada to recently arrived Polish immigrants, Jesionka developed a passion for photography at a young age. At 10 years old, he received his first camera, a Brownie 127, followed by a Bolex 8mm movie camera from his father.

Jesionka’s curiosity in science led him to pursue a degree in physics at the University of Waterloo, but his enduring love for photography led him to Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, where he began studying film theory and production.

The Department of Media Study at SUNY @ Buffalo awarded him a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree. During his time there, Jesionka had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with renowned artists such as Hollis Frampton, Paul Sharits, Jack Goldstein, and Peter Weibel.
His innovative use of motion picture effects technology, including optical printers and video and digital imaging systems, led to a multi-year collaboration with Weibel.
Expanding his artistic reach, Jesionka ventured into installation art, initially focusing on film installations before exploring other installation formats. His films and installations have been showcased across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

More recently, Jesionka presented the installation “Ancient Cinema” — a museum staging at the Donat, in Zadar, Croatia, which presented a speculative archaeological find in which Roman artifacts from the Zadar area were revealed to be the remnants of the world’s first motion picture projector.

Over the years, he has received numerous awards for his teaching and films, as well as grants from the US National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA), New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), Ontario Arts Council (OAC), and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Jesionka has taught at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, the SUNY @ Buffalo and the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna