Jack DykingaNationality: United States
My work represents an attempt at connecting my eyes to my heart. I try to let my image speak for the land, that is in many cases threatened by development. Often it’s the tiniest details that inform the viewer.
I follow a pathway laid down by Western landscape photography giants: Philip Hyde and Ansel Adams, whose work transcended art and became a catalyst to preserving American Wilderness.
While their guiding hand directs me to wild land subjects, I have ventured into a more personal style interpreting the landform’s design of texture and light. I feel success when I both inform and inspire curiosity. I don’t want style to overpower nature, but rather enhance and define its character.
Pulitzer Prize (1971 Feature Photography) winning photographer Jack Dykinga blends fine art photography with documentary photojournalism.
He is a regular contributor to Arizona Highways and National Geographic Magazines. Dykinga’s fine art images were featured along with the work of Ansel Adams in an Arizona Highways Magazine retrospective shown at the Phoenix Art Museum, The Center for Creative Photography, and the Museum of Northern Arizona.
Jack has donated his talents to the International Leagure of Conservation Photographer’s RAVEs (Rapid Assessment Visual Expeditions) El Triunfo, Mexico, 2007; Balandra 2007, Baja Sur, Mexico; the Yucatan 2009, Yucatan, Mexico; the U.S./ Mexico Borderlands 2009, as well as the 2010 Patagonia, Chile RAVE and the September 2010 Great Bear RAVE in B.C. Canada.
In each case, Jack and teams of celebrated photographers from all over the world pooled their collective talents to highlight potential environmental degradation. He and his wife Margaret live in Tucson, Arizona. His daughter Camille Bralts lives in Champaign-Urbana.
His son Peter Dykinga lives in Tucson and manages Jack’s image collection.
1. WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / OR OTHER ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU?
Larry Borrows, Ansel Adams, Philip Hyde and Georgia O'Keeffe
2. WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER?
The sense of curiosity combined with an inmate ability to see and capture design and light.
3. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT DECIDING TO BECOME A FULL-TIME PHOTOGRAPHER?
Commitment to an image. The incredible sacrifices of time and income to stay with a project and believe in one's self.
4. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS DEMOTIVATING?
I am motivated by environmental causes where my images can help effect change and inspire conservation. The busy clutter of highly urban environments seems to adversely affect my concentration that is so necessary to create strong images.
5. WHAT ARE THE MOST PASSIONATE MOMENTS IN YOUR WORK?
When the light creates shapes and forms in what many regard as a barren landscape, and the colors drench the subject in magic. Then images become poems….
6. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN YOUR WORK?
The main challenge is to avoid preconceived ideas. When someone's work becomes a formula, it becomes stale. I try to tell myself to listen to land's message.
7. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTRY?
For fifty years I have had the great fortune to works with or be mentored by the finest images makers, journalists, and editors in the United States.
8. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR PERSONAL LEARNING IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU WOULD CONVEY TO A "NOVICE"?
Be compassionate, honest, and giving and success will follow.
9. WHICH ARE THE DRIVING FORCES FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND IN YOUR WORK?
Curiosity and a strong belief that informed people can be motivated by images that stir the soul.
10. WHICH FEELINGS DETERMINE YOUR WORK WHEN OUT IN THE FIELD?
My feeling while in the field are determined by I determine is my subject. Sometimes it's joy and sometimes it's sorrow. In either case it's important to let the feeling show in my work.
11. ON WHICH CRITERIA DO YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN WORK AS SUCCESSFUL?
My work is successful when I like it. When the work is published and it motivates and inspires action, then I feel I've succeeded.
12. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR PLANET, NATURE: WHAT CONNECTION DO YOU SEE?
There's no doubt I'm motivated by the diverse and incredible beauty that is all around us. To focus on subtle over-looked details allows me to share my vision and celebrate new discoveries of beauty.
13. ASSUMING YOU WOULD HAVE 15 MINUTES ON A TV BROADCAST AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT WOULD BE THE CORE OF YOUR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE?
Please see video interview.
»Taste life and strive to make a difference«.
- 2013 | “Capture the Magic”: delves into composition and the creative process
- 2010 | National Geographic - Illustration of the wilderness lands of Native American
- 2008 | IMAGES: Jack Dykinga’s Grand Canyon reflects Jack’s love for Arizona
- 2007 | National Geographic Magazine: Texas/Mexican border highlighting the biological
diversity of protected areas along the Rio Grande River
- 2004 | ARIZONA: a compellation of Jack’s best Arizona images
- | His ten wilderness advocacy, large format books include:
- Frog Mountain Blues
- The Secret Forest
- The Sierra Pinacate
- The Sonoran Desert
- Stone Canyons of the Colorado Plateau
- The Desert: The Mojave and Death Valley
- | Jack Dykinga authored and photographed Large Format Nature Photography, a
“how to” guide to color landscape photography
- 2017 | Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and keynote speaker at the NANPA Summit
This award goes to an individual who has served nature photography for at least
20 years, and has made significant contributions over an extended period of time.
- 2011 | Outstanding Photographer of the Year Award from the Nature Photographers of
North America for “Stone Canyon”
- 2010 | “Stone Canyon” was selected as one of the forty best Nature Photographs of all
time by the International League of Conservation Photographers
- 1971 | Pulitzer Prize - Feature Photography
Project: Life in the Mirror
Water in the desert context is both life and a mirror to the sapphire sky. Artistically it is interesting for me to work with that wonderful interchange of the Earthly land forms and vegetation juxtaposed floating in surface tension of water. Large format film photography has provided me the tools and technique to capture simultaneously the reflections and suspension.
Project: The Calligraphy of Time
My love affair with the sandstone red-rock country that defines the Colorado Plateau began in the 1970s having arrived to Arizona from the urban mid-west. The radical departure in stature and character of the land mesmerized me and stole my heart.
I have found the intricate sandstone patterns are much more than only decorative and ‘graphic’. Sure, they are to a certain extend. And they are a petrified imprint of eons of geological transformation. Everything here from massive walls to tiny details is like fingerprints left by the erosive forces shaping the land. You can see that at many places in the world. And these fingerprints speak loudly to my heart.
Project: Desert Desiccation
All three images were made on Arizona’s Colorado Plateau as part on an ongoing visual study of sandstone wilderness to promote conservation and the designation of two National Monuments.
Project: Dunes Light and Form
Since producing my Mojave Desert book, I’ve returned many times to sand dune fields that are an undulating ever-changing ocean of shadow and light.
Project: When we struggle
The reoccurring theme in the desert is one based on survival. The tiniest amount of moisture can assure survival. If there is none, death inevitably comes. Plants root themselves on hard ground or shifting sands and yet they persist. I see a metaphor for the human species surviving somehow on the spaceship Earth.