Jim Kasson is a retired electrical engineer and engineering manager who spent most of his career with Hewlett-Packard, Rolm, and IBM. While working as an IBM Fellow, he performed research on color management and developed algorithms for color image manipulation. A life-long photographer, he has been exhibiting photographs since the early ‘80s. Most of his earlier work is traditional silver-based black and white photography. For the last 25 years he has relied upon digital editing and printing processes, and for the last 15 years, on digital capture.
In his blog he explores and explains the technical side of 21st-century photography, tests cameras and lenses, and reports many of the results quantitatively. If you’re not afraid of numbers and graphs, you might want to take a look.
Bodies of work include Alone in a Crowd, an exploration of isolation in public places, This Green Growing Land, an impressionistic homage to farm workers in the Salinas Valley, Nighthawks, a study of nocturnal activities of big-city dwellers, Staccato, a different look at the same subject matter, Photograffiti, an unconventional take on writing with light, and Timescapes, a way of looking at time and space simultaneously.
Jim served on the CPA Board of Directors 2001-2002 and 2009-2012, the second term as President. He is a member of ImageMakers.
Without exception, my new work comes from the old work. It may not be obvious, predictable, or linear, but everything I do grows from things I’ve done. I’ve tried to make up great projects out of whole cloth, but it never works, or at least not until working at an idea shows me where to go next. For the last 30 years I’m been concerned with capturing aspects of the passage of time in my images. Each series has led to the next, sometimes by way of projects that turned out to be dead ends, but which told me where I had to go next.
For me, there’s an element of play, discovery, surprise, and wonder in making photographs. I value fluidity – getting to a place where there’s no clear dividing line between experimenting (playing, if you will) and doing serious work. I often employ a photographic approach opposite previsualization: I want to be surprised by some aspect of the image captured during the exposure. I create photographic series that make surprises likely, even unavoidable. I love doing this. I’m so excited about seeing what happened when I get to image editing. Over time, as – through the unavoidable process of learning – the results get more predictable, I start looking for a new project. I don’t do this kind of photography exclusively; I can be as calculating as I need to be in some circumstances. However, if all my photographs were heavily previsualized, my photographic world would be a colder, sadder, less playful place. I still value craft, but my photography improves if I don’t hold on to it too tightly and don’t spend much energy forcing my vision on the world. The world has much to teach me if I let it.