James H. Evans moved to the Big Bend area of West Texas in December 1988. Previously, Evans worked in Philadelphia and New Jersey, shooting drag races and portraits of the drivers; he later moved to Corpus Christi and then on to Austin, where he worked on commercial and product photography. After taking a hiking trip to Big Bend National Park, Evans decided to drop everything and move to the small town of Marathon, on the outskirts of the park.
Evans dedicated his life and work to documenting the Big Bend Area. His work encompasses traditional landscapes, night-scapes, portraits of the unique inhabitants of the area, and defining subject matter. In 2003 Big Bend Pictures, Evans' first book, was published; the book sparked more interest in Evans' work, allowing him to publish his second book, Crazy from the Heat, in 2011.
The Weston Galleria Hotel in Dallas commissioned him in 2008 to supply photographs for their hotel. This job was pivotal for Evans, as it compelled him to begin shooting digitally. Previously his work was all shot in film, (primarily black and white, square format,) with his Hasselblad. This introduction to the "Digital Age" allowed Evans to expand his work. In newer digital pieces, there is generally a much stronger focus on color, though Evans' continues to work in black and white and in the traditional darkroom.
In 2013 Evans was hired by a Texas businessman to photograph his family's ranch. For a year, Evans was given creative direction with the imagery, and the timetable of the project allowed Evans to document the ranch throughout all four seasons. The final 100+ photographs were hung in the multi-million dollar mansion on the ranch property.
Big Bend Pictures (published 2003, foreword by Robert Draper) is a collection of Evans' work in the Big Bend area spanning 1989-2002. The book contains not only landscapes of Big Bend National Park, but also portraits of locals and subjects.
Big Bend Pictures received much publicity, including a feature in Texas Monthly (2003), a spot in Rounce & Coffin Club Western Books Exhibition (2004), and the Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association (2003). It is currently (2014) in its third printing.
Crazy from the Heat (published 2011, foreword by Rebecca Solnit) is Evans' second book, including work spanning 20 years of living in the Big Bend Area. The images included vary between "magnificent color landscapes and panoramas, dramatic night work, sensuous nudes, and vivid portraits." Not only is there variation in content, but in the formatting of the images; they range between color, black and white, traditional darkroom, digital, square format, and long panoramas.
Beginning in 1990, Evans has regularly had featured work in Texas Monthly, and he is currently a contributing photographer for the publication. His contributions vary from large photo essays to single images featured with articles. Some of his most noteworthy portraits published in Texas Monthly include those of Cormac McCarthy, Susan Combs, Elmer Kelton, Henry Thomas, and Robert James Waller. In 2011, in an article about Texas Wildfires, Evans covered the Rockhouse Fire between Ft. Davis and Alpine in a series of panoramic images. The March 2003 issue featured an essay, "Chasing Shadows", by John Spong paired with Evans' personal work. "Dirt and Light", featured in the February 2011 issue, included a photographic essay of Evans' color panoramas, and yet another issue and web article ("Light in the Darkness" 2006) featured an essay detailing Evans' night work. In September 2014, the magazine ran an online article (Ranch Project) about the yearlong photographic venture Evans' had just completed.
Evans' has been featured in a number of other publications, including Oxford American, GQ, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Big Bend Travel Guide, Southern Living, Desert Candle, Texas Highways, Organica Magazine, Santa Fean Magazine, Cowboys & Indians, Auto Industries Magazine, and more.Adair Margo Fine Art El Paso, Texas
Afterimage Gallery Dallas, Texas
Evans Gallery Marathon, Texas
Stephen L. Clark Gallery Austin, Texas