James Hofmann Biography and Artist Statement

I grew up with a love of hiking. This love led to many vacation camping trips to national parks throughout the United States that provided a wealth of photographic opportunities. I obtained a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and travels during the course of my engineering career provided additional photographic opportunities.

I started using my father's old Argus C3 camera as a teenager and I became hooked on photography. At first the images were a diary of sorts and I recorded my travels as such.  I recorded the scenery around me as well as the people and soon the scenery got the bulk of my attention. Vacation travels became photo shoots as much as possible (to the disgust of my two children) and emergency picture stops became common. However, viewing the 35mm slides after returning from these trips revealed many problems. The grandeur I had witnessed was missing in the image! This fact has led to much analysis of why and much study of images of photographers who managed to capture it.  I have been heavily influenced by John Shaw, Art Wolfe, Alain Briot and others.

I realized that what I loved was  dramatic light and scenery. I also realized that trying to get it all in one composition always failed. The challenge then became to compose in my camera viewfinder a portion of the light and forms I saw with my eye so that my excitement about the scene could be conveyed to others on a piece of paper. I now photograph with the intent to control the outcome. This is fine art photography.

The goal of each of my images is a fine art print, that is, one with the finest materials and workmanship. To start with, I use a tripod in the field to aid composition and sharpness.Time spent years ago in an improvised darkroom printing my 35mm slides on Cibachrome paper was not fun and the process was very limiting! Fortunately, the rise of digital image processing has given me the means to express on paper what my camera has captured, both with film shot during previous trips that I have scanned  and with new images taken using my digital camera.  This development dovetailed nicely with the computer expertise I acquired during my engineering career. Now,  I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to process each digital file to present the scene as I intend.

I use archival materials to make my prints. All prints are signed in the lower right corner just below the image and are limited to no more than 250 prints regardless of print size. The prints are matted using archival materials and the mat is signed as well. A label is fixed on the back of the mat which identifies the scene and gives information about the ink, paper and mat. Properly cared for, the prints will last for many decades.

I have had the privilege of exhibiting in top ranked art fairs and have received awards for my work. I hope you enjoy the images!


photograph by Janine Hofmann