James Phillips Photography


Artist’s Statement for the MOSI Exhibit

In a world that desperately needs subverting, nature photography is art at its most subtly subversive. Landscapes and animal portraits, no matter how finely detailed or sensitively rendered, may not stop wars, dramatically alter the course of human events, or even tweak the collective conscience -at least not much- yet they have a mysterious and undeniable power, and a healing grace. In nature photography, more than any other genre, the spiritual is glimpsed and made manifest. There is a profound and comforting resonance as what seemed chaotic is revealed to be harmonious. The commonest weed is miraculous, and sublime.

There is also an element of sadness, an implication that what is depicted is transitory, and, if it hasn’t already, may vanish the moment we turn away.

While I hold these generalizations to be valid, I still can’t say why some photographs affect me deeply. Or why I’m compelled to photograph some things and not others. And maybe that’s as it should be. It’s a meditative process, and, in the end, an intuitive response. A famous photographer once said “I don’t take photographs, photographs take me.” Another, whose work I love, said “the pleasures of good photography are the pleasures of good photography.” Lacking their Zen-like perspective, I say: “It depends, I guess, on how you look at it… ”

Submitted for your approval, as Rod Serling used to say, are these assorted views of natural Florida, our back yard. I hope you enjoy them.