ABOUT MARK JAMES
It’s all about the photographs and the journey to get them.
In my view, if I don’t have a camera, there is little point in being out in the wilderness. Nature, for all her glory, usually requires payment from those who linger in the land for too long. She’s a cruel mistress and never misses an opportunity to test your limits. I have lost three tripods to the mountains! I usually venture into the wilderness alone and off-trail to find the object of my interest. Typically, the story behind my landscape photographs is as compelling as the picture itself.
So why bother? In a word, Beauty. The pursuit of beauty is worth all the effort and discomfort that the wilderness imposes. Socrates observed that great art contains three characteristics: beauty, truth, and goodness. Harvard trained psychologist, Howard Gardner, suggests keeping lifelong portfolios of beauty. That’s what I do. I bring home timeless photographs from places most will never see or experience. They are souvenirs that can be added to your lifelong portfolio.
My tool of choice is a simple wooden pinhole camera with electrical tape as a shutter. I use black & white film. By today’s standards, my camera and medium are positively outdated and primitive. A pinhole image requires long exposures and obscures details. The photograph is reduced to form and light. I consider my pinhole camera a time machine. I can jump to the past and return with timeless pictures of the wilderness as it may have looked long ago.
That’s what I am all about: a man in the wilderness, camera in hand, searching for photographic mementos that can be added to your portfolio of beauty. And if you don’t have such a portfolio, given the current state of the world, now would be a good time to start one. Timeless beauty is one of those simple pleasures that we too often take for granted, but lasts forever.