Jono Rotman was born in New Zealand and raised in a rural valley near the capital, Wellington. He studied printmaking at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina and photography at Wellington Polytechnic. His work has been exhibited in Australia and New Zealand. He is married to a neuroscientist and has a young daughter. He divides his time between New York and New Zealand.
Rotman inherited a sense of the tenuousness of society and a capacity for foreboding from his father, who suffered under the Nazi occupation as a teenager in the Netherlands. His mother, a fourth generation New Zealander, is a Darwinian biologist. She instilled a kinship with the natural world and a desire to collect specimens. She has named a starfish species for him, Plutonaster jonathani. These influences are woven into Rotman's worldview, informing both his artistic method and choice of subjects.
Rotman mines edge states and points of transition. His work explores the continuing cataclysm of colonization, and the collision of civilization and the natural world. Among his subjects in New Zealand are sites of incarceration and gangs. In America, he is exploring the decline of empire. His often large-scale works of subjects great and terrible are a controlled meditation on the sublime.
Jono is the 2013 recipient of the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award. Supported by the Arts Foundation, the Award is presented every two years to an established photographer with a record of excellence and potential to continue working at high levels. The Award includes a donation for the photographer to help further their career.
In 2017 Jono was announced as the winner of the Images Vevey Book Award. "The Images Vevey Book Award supports the creation of a book project that showcases an optimal and original balance between publication format and photographic content... It provides a financial contribution that seeks to encourage artists to take risks and to innovate in order for them to develop a suitable and sophisticated publication format for their photography project."