Good Eye, Bad Hip...


It doesn't take but a passing glance at the award winning images contained in these pages to recognize that at their core rests a deep appreciation for the masterful works of Edward S. Curtis.

And it is not without cause, for not only did Mr. Curtis' rich copper gravures and oro tone images capture a time in the history of this country like no other in their chronicling of the Indian tribes of North America, but they accomplished an even more Herculean task when they captured the imagination of a young boy.

"Growing up when I did, it wasn't hard to fall in love with the thought of being a cowboy, images of the cowboy were everywhere...television, movies, toys...but that wasn't the case for the American Indian, at least they weren't portrayed as romantically.".

Yet many of Jim's fondest and most vivid memories were conjured by staring endlessly at Curtis' tribal images, "Mr Curtis' photographs of the tribes, their lands, their way of life...well, they took me to a far-off place I wanted to be...certainly a more interesting place than in front of a chalkboard.", says Jim.

Early Life...

Born in California, but moving often, Jim's imagination has played out in many ways over the years, from his days as a youngster playing in the abandoned old west movies sets in the hills not far from his home north of Los Angeles, to his work as a freelance photographer and journalist covering the Mountain West; through it all, his passion for the West ; its people and places, its cultures and history, has run strong.

"My dad was a frustrated rancher...born and raised on a beautiful sprawling farm in New York and graduated from Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State) with a degree in agriculture. The thing he most wanted to do when he left school was farm and ranch, but the only thing he loved more than that lifestyle was my mother and this country. Together she and the Korean War forever derailed those plans. So in some small way, I guess I'm trying to honor his memory as much as I am that of Edward Curtis."

Jim's first serious steps toward capturing the "vanishing west" were taken shortly after 9/11, but the seeds were planted many years before when he faced his own mortality on several occasions, with each and every event leading to the realization, that "life is short". That was of course soon followed by the eternal question, "Why am I here?"

Journey Discovered...

The answer led to his moving to Arizona and undertaking a documentary on the cowboys of Fort Apache. A gamble that despite the numerous missteps along the way, is one he is forever grateful he made. "One half of my family's history goes back to the forty-niners of Sutter Creek, so it's not a mystery, at least to me, why I have always found the spirit of the West so hugely powerful"...and he adds, "but in all honesty, I have no doubt that there is something in my being that runs deeper than this life and DNA."

It has now been almost eight years since Jim turned over the keys of his home In Paulden, Az to the new owner and began his life "on the road", with little more than his dogs and cameras. "I get asked two questions more than any others, the first being, 'Where ya from?' I think this stems from most American's need to make judgements about one's roots, values and upbringing... and while I understand that, it becomes a bit frustrating for them when I tell them 'from the road' goes against the grain of the anchored existence most people go to sleep with and wake up to each morning."