Context Images | About

Context Images is the online home for the photographs and blog of Jim Maloney.

About and Sort-of-Bio

I’ve been making photographs to one degree or another since my 10th birthday when my parents gave me a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera. This was in 1959 and I think they hoped it would channel my bouncing-off-the-wall energy and explorations into more socially acceptable directions. It worked, at least for a little while.

While I liked making pictures what I really liked was science and nature. So I followed that path and photography became a companion rather than the end in itself. I never considered my self artistic - couldn't draw worth beans - so that side of my brain was having to fend for itself while I went through schools and careers more related to physics, chemistry, architecture, and biology. Rather than draw this storyline out lets just say that while I had multiple kinds of jobs and work and activities, one of the things that was consistent was my love of good photographs made by others and the feelings they could evoke. I made mostly technical images to be used in education and training but would on rare occasion lapse into more creative or scenic image making. After a while I began to be disappointed with the photographs I was "taking" so I did less and less. I didn't know I needed glasses and this was before auto-focus was widespread.

When I turned a half-century old, with a family, a reasonable career, and wearing glasses I purchased a Nikon F100 35mm camera - oh, and it had autofocus. I climbed back on the learning curve and have been happy to to have making photographs an expanding part of my life since then. I've used Nikon, Sigma, Pentax, Olympus, Epson, Yashica, Polaroid, Holga, and now Hasselblad gear. I like to think of myself as being agnostic when it come to tools but some tools seem more natural or intuitive to me than others.

I am often amused by photographers that describe themselves as self-taught. What I think they usually mean is that they didn’t go to some formal photography or design school or take a long list of studio or field workshops. In fact we all learn by looking at the image work of other photographers whether formally or informally. In a sense almost all of our work is derivative – influenced to greater or lesser degree by the thousands upon thousands of images a human adult will have visually processed in life. What we try to do, I hope, is not just copy the fine and notable work of others but absorb their observations and photographic gestures and then rework those uncountable factors into a photographic language that allows us to speak with our own voices.

My own work then, if it can indeed be called that, has been influenced by a great many fine photographers over many years* and is continuing to be informed, challenged, pushed, and refined even today by the wonderful images I see created by others. In addition to years of independent mistake making, work, and practice I admit to having studied photography formally at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana and at workshops with noted conservation and environmental photographers Gary Braasch (Oregon) and Garth Lenz (British Columbia). In a sense this is the basis of my photographic context, the image DNA from which I try to communicate what I see and feel in the world.

While many of my photographs reside on the walls of individuals, my images have also appeared in publications and on websites of the following organizations:

- Nimble Fingers Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival

- Oregon Wild
- National Wildlife Refuge Association
- Portland Audubon Society
- Lane County Audubon Society
- The Freshwater Trust
- The John Muir Institute
- The Obsidians
- The US Forest Service
- Eugene Water & Electric Board
- City of Eugene
- Lane Council of Governments
- The Northwest Energy Coalition
- Technisch Weekblad (Netherlands)

If you are an organization or a commercial interest please email for digital use and download information.

I can be contacted at:

But why the name Context Images you ask? Well I think about it in a couple of ways. The first is kind of like the John Muir quote on my homepage that says everything's connected, everything's embedded in a world of other things, everything exists in a context of all other things to one degree or another - the "Naturalist" perspective. Now, when I make a photograph I take a small sample of light and shadow from the world, from the overall context if you will, so that I can draw attention to it and photographically say something about it. While the image is now "out of context" due to the frame I chose, the focal length and shutter speed used, and whether it was a digital or analog recording, it serves as a thread back to that place and time where the subject and I collaborated to make the image. I guess if Muir is right the image and the subject and the world are are all still connected forming an interconnected context for everything else.

* David duChemin, Darwin Wiggett, James Balog, Dave Stone, Tim Cooper, Joel Sartore, Galen Rowell, Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, John Shaw, Freeman Paterson, Gerrit Vyn, Chris Linder, Bridget Besaw, Ian McAllister, Paul Colangelo, Dave Shoalwater, and many others.