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Finding The Light: Photography by Jim Bones

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“My work is devoted to reaching into people's hearts through the beauty of Nature and showing them we and the Earth are one.” – Jim Bones (1943-2023)

Exhibition Dates: January 29 - July 14, 2024

This exhibition showcases recently acquired works of Texas and New Mexico by the late artist, made possible through funds donated by the Friends of Jim Bones Campaign, 2022. The Wittliff is grateful for the support of this group. With more than 260 prints, The Wittliff Collections now become the prime repository of the art.

Born in Monroe, Louisiana, Jim Bones enrolled in the University of Texas to study Aerospace Engineering. As the son of an Air Force officer, Bones had a particular interest in defense systems. While working at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, he found a cone-shaped fossil and realized that its shape mirrored the nuclear warheads he was working on. This moment served as a personal awakening for Bones: this fossil had survived for thousands of years, whereas he was developing technologies that could destroy all life in the fraction of a second. Bones changed his course of study to Geology and took numerous photographs in this pursuit. His images caught the attention of Russell Lee—the renowned photographer then teaching at UT—who invited Bones to become his teaching assistant, and Bones once again changed his major, this time to Fine Arts.

In 1965, Bones began working with a 4X5 inch camera and color film. From 1975 to 1978 he worked in Santa Fe as a printing assistant to Eliot Porter, a photographer widely respected for his large-format color landscapes. The influence of Porter’s images, combined with Bones’ deep understanding and love of the geology of the land, gave Bones a unique approach to photographing landscapes throughout the Western Hemisphere.