"The IACC Board is pleased to bestow an Honorary Lifetime Membership on Jim Ainslie for his outstanding achievement in photographic excellence and for his many years of service to the Club.
Jim’s interest in photography began in his teen years when he had to make a tough decision about whether to pursue pottery or photography. For quite a few years he did both, but, by the time he began teaching, he found himself choosing photography. For about 30 teaching years, Jim took his camperized van for six weeks every summer and travelled across Canada and the United States snapping up some great images. The best part was that he created a darkroom in his van – yes, he sealed off the windows and doors and processed his 4x5 negatives (one by one).
While teaching, Jim used photography to inspire his students. Every week he photographed the students ‘in action’ and the next Monday of each week he brought in the photographs so that the students could write about their activities. He recorded special events in the school. Also, Special Option classes were offered in photography, and Jim said it was delightful to watch a child developing his or her first contact print.
Jim was and is inspired by many photographers - his most inspirational is Jerry Uelsmann – a man who created masterful montages in the darkroom and who considers creative photography to be an experimental form of art which gives him the freedom to express his artistic vision on life.
For over 20 years Jim was involved with the Canadian Association for Photographic Art (CAPA) participating and taking a leadership role in print circuits. For many years he also was involved with the Photographic Society of America (PSA print division). Just imagine what it was like to ‘mail’ (yes, using snail mail) prints across the country to get feedback and give feedback.
Throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s he participated in years of International Exhibitions and his work was published in magazines such as: Fotoflash Journal, Shutterbug, Photo Life, Canadian Camera, Yearbook of Creative Monochrome, and Best of Friends.Some group shows include: The Group of Several; The Royal Alexandra Hospital; Canadian Camera College; Creative Print Exhibition; and the Crossroads Print Group. His solo show was at Gallery 124 in 1999.
We cannot begin to count the number of awards and medals that Jim has received over the years for his photographic excellence. For example, he has received, from CAPA, 41 bronze, silver and gold medals for monochrome, colour or digital prints. He also received numerous annual Kodak Trophies for colour and monochrome prints; The Wellington Lee Award for Most Creative and unusual Colour Print; and the Abbotsford Annual Photographic Seminar Print Exhibition (5 best of show, 7 firsts, 3 seconds, 6 thirds).
Jim was asked and honoured to provide 100 prints to the Robbins Pavilion of the Lois Hole Hospital. The prints are in the patient and examination rooms and offer patients and staff the beauty, softness and joy of natural elements essential to a healing environment. I hope to see them as a visitor but not a patient.
As a member of IACC, Jim’s first workshop for the Club was called “Transferring Darkroom Skills to the Computer.” He has offered and still offers Lightbox and Scanner Workshops (coming up again September 23 and 24), he hosts two Special Interest Groups (Night and Low Light; and Abstract); he shares his work with other members (e.g., tonight you can see his painting with light images which are on display); and he does not hesitate to mentor other members.
What does the future hold for such a talented photographer? Jim will continue with his love of taking candid family photos and creating photo books for the family members; he has a blog site; and he will keep publishing calendars of all sizes and shapes. He plans to publish a book on the Onion-Domed churches in the Lamont area and he also would like to put about 50 of his large format prints into a book. To see some of Jim’s work, please visit his member gallery on our website.
Many, many of us know Jim as a ‘humble worldly soul’ who is passionate about photography and dedicated to the craft. His critiques are thoughtful, insightful and truthful but never hurtful. He is an excellent storyteller and a very talented, creative photographer with an incredible amount of patience, especially when he is mentoring his colleagues. Jim’s excellent eye for black and white and colour comes from years of working in a darkroom. When we see his work, his sense of wonder and imagination leave us in awe. He once wrote that he views images as representations of the celebration of life, and that hidden beauty can be found within
each of us."