Jim Kirkhoff


I approach all of my photography in a documentarian style. It is not my intent to manipulate or control the environment that I photograph, but to record the subjects experiences, weather introspectively or the way that they negotiate the world that they travel through. My intent is to influence the subject and composition as little as possible, but to let events unfold. While I want to anticipate "what is next", it is most likely that I am reacting to what is happening. And in that way, I am interacting with the subject without their knowledge, thus maintaining the ethos of the documentarian process.

But as I approach subjects to document, I take into account the environment which they exist. In these environments, the subject can be an active participant or an isolated. Quite often, occupying both simultaneously. To capture this, I use a long exposure that results in people/objects moving throughout the frame to blur while those that are stationary remand still and isolated. This technique accentuates what it is to both be the individual…the self…the loaner. It can also bring out how the individual can be absorbed by the swarm…the pack...the cacophony of our existence. Either as the individual or as the swarm, the subject remains human in both its form and spirit.

Finally, the very nature of "documentarian" leads me in multiple directions. Since what I document depends on my location in a specific place and time, I am simultaneously documenting my own experiences along sid those of others. And since my interest, inspirations, locations and subjects often have little connection to each other (beyond how they thread through me), a body of work has evolved that can be seen as incoherent or disconnected. However that is only when taken into the context of the pieces themselves and removing me from the equation. This lack of perceived style is one that I welcome and strive for. For if my art becomes stylistic, then that means I am tearing the same path over and over.

Similarly, my sculptural work explores technology and physics in a deeper way free of any recognizable human subject. Utilizing various media brings out unique shapes. Through the creative process, these shapes are exploited to elaborate on a particular theme. Even without a human presence, the work intended to reflect the way humans interact with technology, be it political, sociological or psychological.


  • Co-Founder and Director of Development at Water Street Stud…