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James Andrew McConnell, Photographer Bio

Jim McConnell, (May 7, 1949 - July 15, 2023) came from a remote wilderness valley in the North Cascades of Washington. Accessible only by boat or float plane at the head of fifty-five mile-long Lake Chelan, the subsistence community of twenty-one lived without electricity, telephones, and many, like Jim's family, without running water.

His parents were mountain climbers, skiers and members of the small group of early environmentalists. (Jim recalls backpacking as a child with family friend Ansel Adams and watching him work... "Frame and light, Jim, frame and light.") When Jim was six, the family moved to Chicago's South Side, where his father resumed his academic career.

Summers were spent in the Northwest wilderness while Chicago provided another vision. Three years later, the family moved to Uganda, then an African Eden and a land of peace, the most exciting period of his childhood and his first immersion in representational Arts, both traditional and contemporary.

Returning to Chicago on the eve of Uganda's independence, Jim went to the high school operated by the University of Chicago, with a year in Austria studying languages and competing in ski races. Jim attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where he later was a Crisis Counselor and a member of the  Dean's staff. Jim has also held jobs as a ski coach, alpine guide, prairie dog wrangler (live-trapping and relocating prairie dog colonies), counselor with street gang members in East Los Angeles, and business consultant in Melbourne, Australia. His work has included writing screenplays and assembling financial packages for feature films, a career of more than two decades. He has worked for Paramount, Disney and several Oscar-winning independent producers.

A reviewer called Jim’s photography “New Surrealism”, a term sometimes misinterpreted as wild digital manipulation — something he eschews. Rather, “Surrealism” in Jim’s photos references ethereal, dreamlike visions of the connective tissues between the worlds surrounding us, natural, man-made and perhaps beyond, their tensions and their harmonies. He has slept on the ground on five continents.

Jim moved to New Mexico by accident and fell in love with the region, its people and its light. "When I find the words to describe the quality of light here I will know it is time to move. But I haven't come close to finding those words yet."

Jim loved to ride his motorcycle and shoot (a camera) throughout the Southwest.

Photo of Jim at work by Jon Redturtle

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Read a feature story on his photography appearing in Pasatiempo, the Arts Magazine published by the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper: Into the Wild | Art

Visit his other, streamlined website featuring images of ravens, coyotes, and night-blooming flowers:

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