Jim Sidinger
Traditional Fine Art Photographer
Photographic Instructor

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About Jim

Jim Sidinger

Photographic Philosophy

Most of my photography is about images that have simple lines and forms in balanced relationships to one another.  I feel that the viewer's experiences are improved and intensified when there is a minimal amount of incidental clutter to distract from the essence of what I am trying to say. 

Like all good photographers, I try to let you know what I feel about a scene, not just what I see.  From my first viewing of the works of the photographers Edward Weston, Michael Kenna and Jay Dusard, I have been influenced by their styles.  I have connected with their concept of using simplicity to assist in communicating the emotional depth felt when making an image.

As I pursued development of my own photographic style, I found that the black and white image worked best for me.  I believe that the viewer can penetrate more easily and deeply into a personal interpretation of my images if I use this presentation format.


Subjects & Interests

The subject of much of my photography is the landscape of the American West. Though I hadn’t traveled west of the Mississippi River until I was almost 30, I have fallen passionately in love with the overwhelming beauty I have found here in my adopted home.  Through my photography, I have tried to express the awe and satisfying personal calm I experience in exploring the West’s wild and special places.  Even if it is not the specific subject of a particular image, "The West" is deeply inside its structure and interpretation.  It guides how I see -- it influences how I create my art.

One of my favorite places and where I have spent a great deal of photographic time is the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in southwestern Colorado. I have found this vast landscape of dunes, tallest in North America and far from any lake or ocean, a challenge to interpret but continue to try. I felt honored when, as a result of my work there, the National Park Service appointed me an Artist-In-Residence in 2011. I consider some of the images I have made there to be among my best. I have continued to re-visit there, year after year, and have continued to be rewarded by the resulting prints.

My first published book was the 2002 “Eternal Companions: Faces of the Père Lachaise”.  This book contains images of the amazing statuary and bas reliefs of that famous Paris cemetery.  My work has also been published in several books by other authors including Andrew Miller’s 1995 poetry book “An Unkindness of Ravens”.

My current projects include a visual interpretation of Fort Point, a pre-Civil War fort in San Francisco, California as well as ongoing work at the Great Sand Dunes and on the Great Plains. I am planning for the Colorado plains images to be the subject of my next book which I have tentatively titled “In Plains' Sight: Meditations on Eastern Colorado's Beautiful High Plains Landscapes”.


Education and Methods

I have participated in what I call "independent studies in photography" through workshops and readings in the art and in the constant practice of making images for over 25 years.  I have also been fortunate in having had the experience of meeting and studying with many great photographers - among them:  Morley Baer, Howard Bond, Michael Kenna, Bruce Barnbaum and Jay Dusard.

I create all of my images in my traditional (chemical) darkroom, where I personally print all my archival silver gelatin, selenium toned images from film negatives.  I incorporate no digital processes into any of my work as a matter of personal choice (rather than of "religious" dogma).  While I, personally, am an adherent to traditional techniques, I have studied digital photographic processes and understand and appreciate the “power of the pixel” and the creative images now possible through digital capture and editing. A good photograph can be either traditional or digital.

I currently work exclusively in black & white, large format film photography.  My main camera is an Ebony SV45Ti.  My favorite lens is the Nikkor SW 90mm (equivalent to 27mm in 35mm format). 

I also do all of the matting & framing of my prints. In this way, I feel connection with the entire work process and can control the quality of the displayed images from start to finish.



In addition to working on my own photography, I also enjoy teaching the photographic arts at all levels from introductory to advanced.