Don Jim (Hawaii/Los Angeles, 1922 – 2006)
Untitled, circa 1985
Solarized silver gelatin print on paper
From the Lavish Lola series
Artist’s estate stamp with plate signature to the verso
A solarized silver-gelatin photograph by photographer Don Jim, from his series Lavish Lola. This series from the 1980s was the last body of personal fine art photoraphy that Jim completed. He built a large scaffold in his living room in order to shoot Lola from an elevated aerial perspective. Jim had his subject lie on a crinkly fabric mat, which was laid on top of a piece of canvas that provides the border of the image. In addition to experimenting with solarization as he did with this photograph, he also printed images straight from the negatives of this series. This particular project reflects Jim’s ongoing interest in the female nude throughout his career, however this series has never been exhibited or seen except by Jim’s friends and family members.
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. 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 below.
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. To view the artist’s website, please see the link below.
- no issues to note.