James Walker Studios

A New Way of Looking at Things

One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.-Henry Miller

I’ve been photographing a lot more landscapes than usual lately, probably due to the fact that Anna and I have been witness to some incredibly beautiful country here in the Southwest.  It’s a great feeling to be humbled by the enormity of nature. Here is a photo of the moon setting over Mt. Princeton.

Southwestern Landscape

Here’s a snapshot from our recent voyage. I often use a somewhat non traditional approach to landscape photos, this photo was shot at f2.8 1/5000 ISO 400 using my favorite 35mm 1.4 lens. I employed minimal post production, just a little burning and dodging, pretty much the same thing I would have done in a traditional darkroom. The clouds really were this epic, I can’t even count the times that Anna and I both said “wow that’s so beautiful” while staring out at all the vast and spectacular landscapes that rolled past us 🙂

Colorado Ghost Towns Part I

Last weekend my amazing wife took us on a surprise road-trip-photo-safari to celebrate my birthday. We headed down to check out a super cool ghost town that I had been wanting to visit for quite a while. I’m so thankful for this woman and all the crazy awesome adventures. I’ll post more photos of the town soon. 🙂

Art and Life

There is a very distinct difference between an “artist” and someone who “likes to make art”.  An artist has no choice, they have to create and have an outlet for their creativity. Someone who “likes to make art”, as a hobby, as a pastime, could give up the process at any moment and be okay with it. (And there is nothing wrong with that, there are some amazing and talented people out there who like to make art.)  But an “artist” has a higher calling and a very intense sense of duty to express themselves creatively and to inspire others. This is a responsibility that they don’t take lightly. Here is a portrait of an artist.  Whether it’s her skateboarding style or the newest artwork Anna has been creating you can get a very intense feeling of someone who is genuinely making the best work that they possibly can and creating something truly unique and inspiring!

Figure in Motion

Here are a couple of quick figure/motion study sketches from this morning. I’ve found that starting the day off with a few minutes of drawing makes the rest of the day much more productive. I kept the materials simple on these, just some ink and graphite 🙂

New Bison Painting

We have some bison living near us but they are super elusive and I haven’t been able to photograph them yet so I made this painting from an old reference photo. The Bison is a symbol of sacred life and abundance. They are an indomitable spirit with an unshakable will to survive and face any challenge with the fortitude to overcome. This piece was created using acrylics, aerosol, colored pencils and watercolors. Thanks for looking 🙂

The Importance of Persistence

Skateboarding exclamates and elevates many life lessons. One of my favorites is Persistence.  If you’ve ever watched a skateboarder going for a trick and witnessed all the times they get close to landing it, walking the fine line between success and serious bodily harm, then you must appreciate their persistence in the face of absolute peril. Try, fall, get back up, repeat. This is a huge part of the essence of skating.

The important thing to remember is that you never know how close you are to accomplishing your goal, it could be the very next try.  If you really want to succeed you must keep pushing yourself because there would be nothing worse than trying something 150 times and then giving up and walking away not knowing that attempt number 151 would have been the winner.

Persistence my friends, if you are physically capable of getting back up, then you have the ability to keep trying.

Here’s a snapshot of Brian from a few weeks ago, he put in some work to get this backside air over the spine at Castle Rock.  I admit I cringed a little bit every time he nearly clipped his back wheels on the copping and bailed on the landing. But like most everyone I’ve ever skated with he kept getting up and going for it and was rewarded with a clean landing a fraction of a second after I snapped this photo.

Digital VS. Analog Post Production (and a fun Landscape photo)

While we were on our way out of town after a glorious skate session at Loveland Skatepark Anna spotted this beautiful old car reposing in the landscape. She insisted that I jump out and photograph it and I’m super stoked that I did because one of my favorite things about the Southwest is all of the random vintage artifacts that are just lounging around, ruminating and waiting for someone to photograph them.

With a background in traditional wet darkroom photography I am always searching for a way to merge the worlds of digital and analog image making. In the past I was hesitant to apply too much post production “art sauce” to my images until I realized that one of the things I love about film photography is the serendipity of print making, especially with type 55 and 665 Polaroid negatives. Obviously the “craft” of black and white darkroom printing is extremely important, but where you push it to after you’ve mastered the craft is what makes your images unique and special. I recently realized that that was the same in digital post production as well.  It is imperative that you start with a decent image, but where you take that image, whether it is a simple levels correction or a set of custom actions, is what ultimately makes your photographs unique.

Progression

Super stoked to watch this guy’s progression. One of the keys aspects of skateboarding is pushing yourself to be better than you were the last time you skated, that’s one of the reasons why this art form is so amazing. You are only in competition with yourself.  Keep it up Jason!

New Work Preview!

This new painting is based on a photograph I made many years ago in Savannah. I decided to revisit and re-contextualize the image in the piece. The main part of the background was created using acrylics, aerosol, colored pencils, and watercolors.  The image of the bird is a hand-colored, toner based transfer. This piece is part of a new series of small paintings on heavyweight watercolor paper and measures 9″x12″.