Tim Wolcott, Photography, Big Bear Lake, California (US)


EWW:  Tim, I am curious to know, if someone were asked to make a comment about your work as a whole, what do you think they would say?

Tim:  Since I have owned a gallery for the past 20 plus years, the most common thing most people say about my work is that the images look like paintings and can a place really look that perfect.  And that they look unreal.  Not in a fake way.  But very few people are wiling to wait until the light is perfect and experience the joy of nature. 


EWW: What would be your comments about your work, as a whole? 

Tim:  I try to perfect my craft on every image.  I try to plan every shot out completely.  After all, you’re only as good as your last image.  It’s a lot of pressure I put on myself to create a perfect image.  I was taught from a very early age, if your going to do something, do it the best you can.  I think like a painter and compose every shot so the viewer feels as they are guided thru my imagery.  I like to think when the clients are looking at my images that they are transported into the image and get a feel of what I felt when I designed and created the image.  My grandfather told me about my lineage in photography and it always made me feel like I had extra pressure put on myself since my family created the first camera and photo exhibit.  So yes I do feel I have to perform at the highest possible level.  At a very early age I felt that pressure when meeting Ansel Adams and the other great masters that are no longer with us. 


Amulet of the Forest


EWW:  If I were to walk into an room which included works of yours as well as others, would I immediately know which ones were yours and why?

Tim: Yes, I believe you would although I shoo

t not just one topic within the natural world.  But I believe my photographs are the most dynamic images and process on the market.  They depict nature at its most intimate moments.  Not only are they dynamic but I take great pride in making sure each and every subtle tone is expressed in the print and makes the images come alive with the most three dimensional look possible.  I believe you would say that these are very complex but the most elegant images you have ever seen.  What you see when looking at my images is not that I am standing in very cold water to get the shot and how much pain I’m in when I have to sit there for a long period of time to get the composition and shot that I see in my head.


EWW:  On your website Tim you mention you, with the help of two others, built the first “green gallery” in the world.  Can you explain what you mean by “green gallery?”

Tim:  We designed the Evercolor process 1991, which was designed to create the very best looking photographic print process in the world.  It used no chemicals or heavy metals (unlike the chromogenic process which has vast amounts of very toxic chemicals and heavy metals).  The process also didn’t fade quickly and was tested to last 250 plus years on display.  We also have all my frames made with managed forest woods from America.  Since then I have designed many of the best printing processes that are currently in use today.  I helped design the first pigment Inkjet photographs today as well as some of the papers and equipment.  Its not that I wanted to get into that arena, I really just wanted better ways of making photographic prints.  Since that time I have never left, but really dedicate more of my time to thinking of better ways to shoot and create images in my mind.  If a piece of equipment needs to be designed then I do it.  But really I spend most amount of my time conceiving images and the way I want to them to look and feel.



EWW: Excluding subject matter, are there any themes that consistently run from one work to the other such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?  

Tim: I try to create each image as elegantly as possible.  I know this sounds weird.  But I really want it to feel like each and every element in the shot was carefully chosen and executed to the fullest extent.  I try to make every image look exactly like the way I see it.  I first compose the image with a framing card then pick the lens that makes it feel like it matches the way the eye sees the photograph.  I then picture the image on the wall when shooting it and wait for the right lighting to make the shot come to life. 


EWW:  You spend a great deal of time planning out a particular shoot.  You state in one of the articles that I have read “ . . . pre-visualizing and visualizing an image is a lost art that needs to be resurrected.”  Is there anything one can do to increase this skill? 

Tim:  I study where I’m going to go, I also look at as many photographs I can see to get a good representation of the terrain, trees, and other things I may see then I draw out the photographs of things I would like to capture with lighting angles, dimension elements of the shot.  I study that every morning and night so I become aware of what I can envision with the hope of finding it.  Sometimes it takes up to 7 years.  But most times it pieces of images that I end up finding that makes my final images.  I walk around looking thru framing cards and almost never look thru the camera because when you look thru the camera it distorts the scene back to your eye.  I like to see it with the naked eye, and then I set down the framing card where the best composition is and set up the tripod and pick the lens that best matches what my eye sees.  But the biggest thing one can do is to SEE and use a framing card.  Slow down and see what’s right there.  There are great images everywhere if you slow down and feel the shot. 



EWW:  In addition to doing your own photography, you offer photography workshops.  Regardless of the topic of the individual workshops, what are the three most important concepts that you hope your workshop participants leave with?

Tim:  I really don’t offer workshops but if someone really wants to learn and they call me I usually will do them.  But I make 99% of my income from selling my fine art photographs. 

When working with someone the three most important skills I want them to walk away with are:

1.  Slow down and see what you are shooting.  Work the area, become intimate with the landscape before you.  The thing I hate most is when I hear someone say” I can’t wait to see what I just shot’.  You should know what your image should look like before your shoot it. 

2.  Don’t look thru the camera, use framing cards and shoot it the way you see it with your eyes.  This is why I carry 13 lenses, to mimic the eye.

3.  Learn to print your work.  Most photographers don’t have a clue on how to print and what makes a good shot or print.  Its hard thing to learn but interning my work.  Seeing great work helps.  I developed my printing technique.  Sending to a printer is not the way really to go, unless you have it all soft proofed together.  It’s the first final image that is really important. 


EWW:  In 2012 you created a new printing process.  Can you elaborate on this printing process a little and what are the benefits it provides to visual artists, whether they are photographers or digital artists. 

Tim: It’s been a 30-year endeavor to create this new process.  Its not just the printing process but I look at it as a new way at looking at how photographs are viewed and the experience of how the people feel when looking at the new process.  I designed the newer approach, not just by looking at the print but how the print is also mounted and framed.  But the new process encompasses a talk that I had with Ansel Adams.  I was up in Carmel when I was 17 and was introduced to him by the Friends of Photography.  We sat and talked about the dry down affect of B&W prints and they had brought out a photograph framed and he mentioned how much he hated glass because it reflected and took something away from the fine art print.  For 20 years I have been making and creating a better way to make the final pigment print (The pigment process was first made back in 1890’s and later was an endeavor of Ansel’s with the Polaroid company).  I guess that idea of Ansel complaining about the glass stayed with me.  So I set off to make a process that would have the highest DMax and be archival with no chemicals and did not require the use of glass.  It allows the viewer to have a much more intimate experience with the art and it looks amazing.  The coating combined with the new paper really makes the image explode off the wall.  Something you must see to believe. 



EWW:  Just to wrap up the interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work that you think would be important for others to know about?

Tim:  My hope is that others will come see my work and new galleries we plan on making and see what you can produce.  The only limitations are in your mind.  We have the best camera equipment and printing equipment and supplies ever produced.  Rely on your intuition and make a great image.  Although I have 175 years and 7 generations in my blood, its hard work and discipline that makes a great image. 

Nature is always changing and carving the very landscape in front of us.  It is always tearing down and creating beautiful things.  We just need to open our hearts and minds to see them and create great images.


Website:  http://www.rhwilsonphoto.com/


Return To “Along The Water’s Edge”


Comments (5)

  • Joel B. McEachern


    Thank you for the article and a peek at Mr. Wolcott’s remarkable work. What amazing color and clarity and quiet. Does the Light Waves lab in SF know about his printing gift?


  • Diana


    hello, I LOVE your work! how can I purchase a paint? I don’t see how to add it to the cart. Thanks!


    • admin


      Diana . . . I would love to help you out but I need a few more specifics. Thanks
      Ed Wedman, Co-Founder of Exhibitions Without Walls


Leave a comment

Copyright © 2016 Exhibitions Without Walls for Photographers and Digital Artists.