Hi! I'm Jim. What else do you need to know!? I’ve been working behind the lens since the late 1900’s (sounds forever ago, doesn’t it??), way back when there was this thing called “film”! I shot an old Nikon F that was older than I was, shooting slides and entering into photo competitions with the Western Reserve Photographic Society in Lake County, Ohio. I worked for the County Parks as a naturalist (NOT a naturist, nice try!), and part time at Van’s Photo, where I was a printer and even provided some sales support on occasion when the store was busy. They were good times, because I got to devote a lot of my time and energy into something I truly loved, and still do: Photography.
In 2005, I graduated from the New York Institute of Photography, which was a truly amazing experience, and I would highly recommend the program to aspiring photographers. It provided a really sound base for photographic technology and technique, as well as exposing me to a wide variety of photographic interests. While my first love was always nature photography, wildlife, and sweeping scenic images, the NYIP Course gave me the chance to explore product photography, still life, portraiture, weddings, fashion and glamour, architecture, and much more. These were areas that I had never even considered, but have brought me great happiness in my more recent years.
It was around the same time, 2005, when I transitioned to digital photography, receiving my first real digital camera as a generous gift from my family. It was a Nikon D70, and it was sparkly, new, and brilliant in its design. I kept my film camera, with every intention of shooting Black and White film in it, and learning how to develop in my own darkroom. Best laid plans… But the D70 was a very capable camera, producing 12x18” prints with ease.
I have since moved back to my home state of New York, taking a position with Cornell Cooperative Extension, working with the 4-H Camp program at Bristol Hills. Today, I am actively involved with the Finger Lakes Photography Guild, serving as the Chair of the Education Committee, and as a member of the Executive Committee. My photography has become a venue for creative self-expression, and I love it just as much as I ever have. I still shoot a lot of nature and environmental work, but I have also found great joy in photographing people. It is a very rewarding experience to really connect with a human subject on a photo shoot. Whether it’s a blushing bride on her wedding day, a 12-year old overcoming their fear of heights on the ropes course at camp, or a model who looks absolutely stunning against the backdrop of urban decay on an inner-city shoot, there’s still that amazing moment when I look at my images on the computer after any shoot. I’ve made many friends, both those in front of, and those behind the camera. My clients, in giving me feedback about their photos, have given me confidence to continue growing and learning in these fields. My fellow photographers have inspired me to do bigger, better, and more.
Today I am shooting a Nikon D90, and always on the quest for another great shot. I exhibit work in Gallery shows several times a year, as well as using my photography to promote the 4-H Camp. My images have adorned the covers of numerous magazines over the years, and I’m always looking for new ways to reach out and touch the lives of those who enjoy my art. So stick around… pour yourself a cup of coffee, and enjoy yourself as you walk through this site. It is the culmination of many years of hard work and great memories.
I would like to take just a moment to thank those who have been so supportive of my photographic endeavors. First and foremost, my wife, Alyssa has been with me since the day I picked up my first camera, and has always been the first to “ooh and ahh” over my work every time I come home from a shoot. She has graciously encouraged me every step of the way. I’d also like to acknowledge my friends at Western Reserve Photographic Society, many of whom I still talk to on a regular basis, and even photograph with annually. Michelle, Lori, Marty and the rest of the gang are among the most talented photographers I’ve had the pleasure to shoot with. They helped me to get my feet underneath me, supporting me with their positive critiques, inspiring me on numerous adventures, and generously sharing their collective knowledge with me from the very beginning. My fellow staff at the Parks in Ohio, and those here at Cornell Cooperative Extension in New York, for not only tolerating my photographic pursuits, but allowing me to incorporate my love for photography into the work I do every day. And finally, the people of the Finger Lakes Photography Guild, who have allowed me a new place to call home for my photography since 2011. They continue to motivate me with interesting photo challenges and educational opportunities. They have made me feel like another member of their family, inviting me into their homes, and taking me under their wing. Special thanks to Lee and Barbara Drake who have virtually adopted me. You have shown tremendous kindness, providing honest feedback for my work, serving as my own personal printers, and breaking bread with my wife and I on a number of occasions over the years. The times we’ve talked shop while sitting in your computer room are eclipsed only by the times we get to shoot together in the field. Your work continues to blow me away every single time I see it. You both inspire me to be a better photographer, but more importantly, to be a better person. Words can’t express my sincere thanks to each of those who have supported me along the way.
And a special thanks to Lori Zanotta, a fellow educator with whom I had the privilege to work at the County Parks in Ohio. Our paths have drifted in different directions in the years since then, but we’ve kept in touch through it all. Lori completed her training in Web Development, and was the one who suggested that my art needed (of course!) a website. So this site is a direct outcome of her hard work and amazing talents. If you love this site, consider contacting Lori to help you showcase your own work online. Thanks Lori!