Adam Jahiel - Biography
American photographer. Born April 27, 1956 in Ann Arbor Michigan. Raised in Urbana Illinois. Educated At Brooks Institute of Photography (BS), majoring in commercial photography and University of Missouri Columbia (BJ) majoring in photojournalism. Apprenticed with Douglas Kirkland for two years in Los Angeles, CA. Began freelance career in Los Angeles doing editorial, motion picture and corporate photography, for 8 years. Now lives in Story. Wyoming pop. 650 Adam Jahiel, has had a varied professional career. He has worked for the motion picture industry, adventure projects, most notably as the photographer for the landmark French-American 1987 Titanic expedition. His work has appeared in most major U.S. publications, including Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, National Geographic Society and others. Jahiel’s work also has appeared in literally dozens of books, including the acclaimed “The Day in a Life of” series. THE PROJECT:
For years, Jahiel has been photographing the cowboys of the Great Basin, perhaps one of the most inhospitable regions of the already rugged West. These people represent one of the last authentic American subcultures, one that is disappearing at a rapid rate. Cowboying as an art form is almost obsolete; still, the cowboys hang on, with a ferocious tenacity. Respect there doesn’t come from the trappings of modern life. Talent, knowledge and skill are valued above all else. And the cowboy tradition has its roots in the oldest of human conflicts: man against nature and man against himself. Jahiel tries to reflect those sentiments in these photographs. These cowboys aren’t “remade” into a Hollywood image. Instead, they are “found” images, in keeping with the spirit of authenticity that permeates the best keepers of this tradition. PHOTOGRAPHING THE WEST
There is something final about photography. A photograph has the ability to capture a moment that is gone forever. Nothing exists that can make that moment come back again. No other tool can capture these moment before they vanish completely. The American West is a place where things vanish. Civilization passes through repeatedly, stops for a short time, and then mostly moves on. In between, the land and the people that remain slowly reassert themselves. I do whatever I can to make my pictures good, without crossing the line where I impose my personality on them. For me, most great pictures are made by photographers who have, at least for the moment, abandoned their own identity. To me, all great photographs are free from arrogance. The viewer should see the subject, not a reflection of the photographer. I’m still drifting around the American West, looking for the land that time forgot. It still exists, but is getting harder and harder to find. Twenty-five years ago, I took a hard look at a world that was new to me. I could sense that it was in the process of vanishing. And I knew that I wanted to freeze some moments in time. Admittedly, the concept of the ‘Vanishing West’ has become a huge cliché; but it is also by no means untrue. -Adam Jahiel- 2017 QUOTES FROM REVIEWS: --Jahiel is one of the select few photographers who possess the sensitivity necessary to record this aspect of Americana. They succeed because their total involvement and immersion in the culture results in images that penetrate the glossy superficiality so pervasive in the popular press. --Camera and Darkroom
--Jahiel catches the play of light, the rush, and texture of the clouds, the blurry poetry of dust, but, most of all, the precise steady energies and weariness of the animals and the cowboys. Though the subject is familiar, the invigorating art of these photos cuts right through all the cliches with intoxicating directness. --Bruce Richardson, art critic --The Starkness of Jahiel’s The Last Cowboy project is the most eloquent of elegies”
-Jaqueline M Pontello, Southwest Art Magazine, Sept ’94 --“Everywhere, there is texture and grit, and the placement of light requiring the basic mastery of light unique to accomplished photographers in complete control of equipment, light, and above all, decision making .”
-Jack Elder, Art Critic --These dramatic photographs recall the great historic paintings of artists such as Frederic Remington and Charles Russell.
--Westword, Denver, Colorado