Don Jim (Hawaii/Los Angeles; 1922-2006)
Sunglow, late 20th century
Cibachrome photograph made from multiple negatives or transparencies
Artist’s estate stamp with artist’s signature in plate present to the verso
A cibachrome photograph made from multiple negatives or transparencies titled Sunglow by photographer Don Jim. Years before the advent of Photoshop and other photo manipulation software, Don Jim experimented with his negatives and created images such as this by sandwiching multiple negatives, transparencies, or double printing images to create askewed, variations of his work. As a result, he created these “merged” images that reflect his affinity for the surreal, and visualizing iconic and symbolic forms in natural settings and everyday imagery. In this example, he juxtaposed an image of a reclining nude figure against a dark mountain range at dusk to create a glowing, sun-soaked shot. Jim’s layering of the transparencies have resulted in the woman’s recumbent figure echoing the silhouetted edge of the cascading mountain. His composition and masterful lighting effects transcend everyday phenomena into iconic, abstract images. To learn more about the artist, please see the link to his website included below.
Jim’s love of the female form manifested into several series of female nudes, ranging from detailed shots in the studio, staged interior settings with props and costumes, and outdoor images of nudes in nature. His artistic vision found symbolic form in the human form and everyday objects. One of Jim’s last significant series featured an opulent female on self-built scaffolding, shot from above. Some other works that focus on the human form are his photographs taken at amusement parks and beaches in the 1950s. Many of these includes series of competitions, gymnastics, and crowds at the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, visible at his website.
Chinese-American photographer Don Jim shares a proclivity for visualizing figural and symbolic imagery in abstract form and everyday objects. Born in Hawaii, he spent two years in the WWII army, then moved to Los Angeles to study photography at the Art Center College of Design. As a young commercial photographer, he created album covers for a number of musicians in the 1960s, including Jimmy Cliff, the Byrds, and Deep Purple, among others. He also produced a majority of the 3-D View Master photographs for California tourist attractions, such as Hearst Castle and Disneyland. During Jim’s career, he became recognized for his perfectionism in lighting and his ability to photograph reflective and shiny surfaces, such as glass, chrome, stainless steel, foil, and neon. This skill was transferred to the streets when he began his personal photographic projects in his 50s. It was at this time that he began a multitude of series that demonstrate his ability to transform everyday objects into abstract and symbolic beauty. Some of his subjects include the nude female form, objects embedded in asphalt streets, tar dripping on rooftops, and paint peeling off old walls. During his lifetime, not much of Jim’s work was ever seen or publicly displayed. However, after his death in 2006, his wife Margo inherited a large majority of his personal work, which today she works to preserve and exhibit for the public. Since the late artist’s passing, his work has been exhibited by Art Basel Miami, the Barry Singer Gallery, the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), Dkrm. Gallery, Luminous-Lint, and Classic Photographs Los Angeles.
- minor wear to edges of photograph.