JAMES C. RITCHIE

 

JamesCRitchie.com

Biography

 

 

There has always been a thread of art and photography throughout James Ritchie's life. When he was very young, his toy of first choice was paper and anything he could use to draw on it. In later childhood he practically lived in the town library during the summers immersed in cartoon and art books. (Andrew Wyeth was - and still is - an all time favorite artist.)

His father had a fully-equipped 4x5 Crown Graphic camera which dazzled him. But sadly, his father had to sell the camera before he was old enough to learn how to use it. There was, though, an old Kodak bellows camera (and later a Kodak Brownie and Instamatic) that he frequently used for snapshots of parents, relatives and friends, and even his pet alligator.

In high school he took the only two general art classes offered. He doodled on everything, and diligently tried to copy the work of his MAD Magazine art heroes Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Frank Kelly Freas, Wallace Wood, and the guaranteed-to-put-him-in-stitches, Don Martin, along with so many more from the 1960s like Ed "Big Daddy" Roth.

In 1966, a year after high school, he was classified 1-A by the Draft Board, which was a death warrant in his mind. Determined not to pound ground in Viet Nam jungles for two years, he became a draft dodger - and enlisted in the Navy for four years.

It was then that he made his first investment in more serious photographic equipment. While at sea in the West Pacific he was able to buy - even on Seaman Apprentice pay - the prestigious Nikon-F 35mm camera, and assorted Nikkor lenses at bargain prices in the ship's store, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

After his enlistment, art and photography took a back seat to the realities of adult life for the next several decades. Drawing fell by the wayside, but at one point he took some night courses in graphics and advertising design at a community college. He continued to shoot, but usually only at family gatherings, and occasionally on weekend excursions to the zoo, or to chase trains.  It wasn't until after he retired, that he was able to devote himself to more serious photographic endeavors. He has since taught himself traditional and digital photography on the fly, and progressed from snapshooting to pursuing it as art.

During the last decade, Mr. Ritchie's work has become increasingly popular. His award-winning work is enjoyed by an international audience, exhibited regionally and nationally, and is owned by a growing number of corporate, commercial, public, and private collectors.


 

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It's about art.

There is no deep spiritual, philosophical, or political message, meaning, or commentary in anything I do. Every scene or subject I shoot has an underlying connection to one - usually several - of my own interests that I'm passionate about. Every shot is intended to capture, convey, and artistically portray the fascination, spirit, and passion I have for that scene or subject.

It's about art.

Art that I find in simple things and places most people encounter every day, but usually never consciously recognize, or take the time to actually "see" and appreciate.

I am not a photojournalist or documentarian. I am an artist who has taught himself to use photographic equipment. Hence, I don't feel bound by tradional "rules and conventions" of the equipment or medium. In fact, I rarely present an image the way it "ought" to be. It isn't about what something is.

It's about art.

Each one of my images is individually assessed and processed - or more accurately - interpreted. Only rarely are any of them ready for display "out of the box." All are processed using digital versions of traditional wet darkroom methods, each according to its own situation. Some subjects and scenes deserve further treatment and interpretation to effectively convey the atmosphere that best suits them.

Using new digital methods and tools, I am able to infuse my passion into the images in ways that would never be possible with traditional processing and presentation. It isn't about equipment, methods, or tools.

It's about art.

When others find a personal connection with my work - even if the subject (like a steel mill) is completely foreign to them - I know I've succeeded.

That's what art is about.

 

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CV


Exhibitions

Nicole Longnecker Gallery - Houston, Texas
- 2017 "Industrialism in the Twenty-First Century"

Grosse Pointe Art Center - Grosse Pointe, Michigan
- 2017 Annual Members Exhibition
- 2016 "Our Rivers, Our Lakes" Exhibition
- 2015 "Fun & Games" Exhibition
- 2015 Signs & Symbols Exhibition

The Community House - Birmingham, Michigan
- "Our Town" Annual All-Media Exhibit, October 13-16, 2016

Scarab Club - Detroit
- Annual Photography Exhibition, 2016, 2014, 2013

Detroit Artists Market  
- 2008 - 2016 Juried Group Shows

Lawrence Street Gallery - Ferndale, Michigan
- 2017 - Exposures, Annual Photography Exhibition
- 2016 - Exposures, Annual Photography Exhibition
- 2014 - Best of the Best - Exhibit of 2013 Winners
- 2013 - Exposures, Annual Photography Exhibition (1st Place B/W)
- 2009 - 2012 Exposures, Annual Photography Exhibition

Starring: The Gallery -  Northville, Michigan    
- Featured Artist, November, 2012 and 2014


Books

Photographic Art by James C. Ritchie: 
Selected Works, Volume 1
(Blurb, 2015)


Publications

Friends of Bodie Calendars, 2006, 2007

BODIE: The Mines Are Looking Well
By Michael H. Piatt,(North Bay Books, 2003)
Four photos on the cover and dust jacket

 

Awards
"Silent Player"
Gold Award (First Place), Still Life Single Image
COLOR Magazine - Special Issue No. 7, May, 2010


Collections
- PNC Bank, PNC Tower, Pittsburgh, PA
- PNC Bank, Fairlane Plaza, Dearborn, Michigan
- Commercial installations, and commissions
- Private collections


Memberships
- Edward Hopper House, Nyack, New York
- Detroit Artists Market (Founded 1932)
- Grosse Pointe Art Center, Grosse Pointe, Michigan