Saturday, November 7, 2009


James W. Parker -- Western Landscapes
“Listen to the Land” is what Jim Parker tells viewers when asked how he gets his striking images of prairies, mountain ranges and abandoned architectural artifacts.
As the son of a Western historian, Jim grew up around ghost towns and old mines. His father gave him a camera early on and taught him the basics. Some of his earliest recollections are of road trips to find an old stagecoach trail or Indian petroglyphs scratched on a canyon wall. At the same time, he learned to love the backcountry of his native Black Hills of South Dakota. Hiking, climbing and backpacking in the mountains, or exploring the back roads of the Southwest, he looks for ways to visualize history and bring the story of the land to life.

After gaining a degree in Visual Communication, Jim spent years developing his design skills as an advertising creative director, but never stopped making photographs. His love for the outdoors is evident in his carefully composed images, and he says, “Years of reading the light and the weather tells me where to go and when to go. I tend to be an opportunist -- an explorer -- and that’s a good thing. Coming into a new place for the first time gives you a fresh perspective that’s totally different from shooting near home. It’s knowing how to line up the shot and when to press the shutter that makes the difference, not the equipment.”
Jim likes to joke about shooting his work with his iPhone, but after using a couple dozen different cameras over a 40-year period, it is evident that he has a finely tuned eye for the curve of the horizon, the texture of everyday objects and a reverence for wind, weather and geology. “I tend to shoot pictures of rocks,” he says.

Many of his friends just call him Parker. When he left the corporate world to pursue his dream of being a full-time artist five years ago, he decided to make it easy for people to remember his name. So he put a little of his branding knowledge to work and named his company parkerparker :: design | photography.” That way, people don’t have to remember my first name or my last name – it’s the same either way!” he jokes.

His sense of humor is evident in many of his captions. “Many of my pictures include abstract elements and the element of surprise. The best images tell a story, and I like to explain what I was thinking when I made the shot.” He prints his own work in his studio, using Epson pigment-ink printers and fine art paper. He also makes large panoramic landscapes on canvas, some of which are over eight feet long! Every print is signed and numbered by Parker and mounted using archival methods under acid-free mat board. The canvases are wrapped on heavy-duty stretcher frames and are ready to hang.

"Field Day"
Digital photograph, Limited edition sepia pigment print on Epson Ultra Smooth Fine Art paper
20"x30", matted and framed to 28" x 38" with archival materials and UV glass
(Also available in smaller sizes)
Click pic to see more of James Parker’s work.