Valentine’s camera, “a carrier of the light”, is used to create archival photographic art that reflects the creations of nature and culture. He has devoted his life work for the stewardship of wilderness, wildlife and the understanding of sustainable living. As president of Quest Foundation, Inc., Valentine pioneered the concept of Environmental Art Photography; images that work for the conservation of our wilderness and cultural heritage.
Highlights of his career include: In 1969 he accomplished a three year trek that followed the journey of 18th century naturalist, William Bartrum, throughout coastal Georgia. This extensive exploration and environmental photographic commission lead to the development of the largest environmental art and natural sound exhibition in the country at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. and a book by the same name: Guale, The Golden Coast of Georgia, published by the Friends of the Earth. This exhibit and book lead to the preservation of the wildest coastline along Eastern America and helped establish Coastal Zone Management for the entire U.S.
In 1975, the Governor of Georgia, the Honorable George Busbee, commissioned Valentine to document Georgia’s state parks and wilderness areas in an elegant book on the wilderness and cultural beauty of Georgia published by the Graphic Arts Center.
The Appalachian Regional Commission, in coordination with the University of North Carolina, approved funding of the first Environmental Art Center in the country in 1980, establishing Valentine’s technical photographic laboratory and housing facility as the official Appalachian Environmental Art Center, located in Western North Carolina. The center was founded and created by James Valentine in coordination with the University of North Carolina.
He was commissioned to produce four photographic albums on the Georgia wilderness landscape called The Presidential Photographic Portfolios. They are accessible at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
For the Graphic Arts Center in Portland, Oregon he produced the books: North Carolina, editions I & II. He photographed the natural history and cultural heritage found in North Carolina starting in the highest mountains in the east and eventually ending on the Outer Banks along the coast.
The natural history journey of the early explorers and naturalists who first set foot into the wilds of Florida is captured in his book Florida – Images of the Landscape, Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, Colorado, released in the fall of 1988.
Valentine’s book of poetry and imagery captures the cultural and natural beauty of Georgia’s coast is entitled Guale – The Sacred Landscape, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, Georgia.
His formal garden art photographic books include: Callaway Gardens – The Unending Season and A Guide To Biltmore Estate – Special Centennial Edition that celebrates the Biltmore Estate & Gardens.
Southern Light, Oxmoor House, Birmingham, Alabama, was produced in 1991 with nationally known poet, James Dickey. This publication documents twenty years of Valentine’s exploration into the wilds of the South and covers ten southern states.
Projects in Production:
Books: Florida: Magnificent Wilderness – State Lands/Parks/Natural Areas; Lost Worlds of El Dorado – Islands in the Mist; Southern Appalachian Celebration – Save Our Mountains; Maui’s Hana Coast
Films: Tropical Odyssey (Exploring the tropical ecology of Costa Rica).
Seven major photographic large format books on the Southern landscape, and related photographic projects, position James Valentine as the most celebrated photographer in the South. He works as an environmental consultant, writer, poet and advanced scuba diver. He is currently working with several cultural and conservation groups to help preserve Maui. Valentine coordinates his photographic art and film projects with leading environmental and cultural organizations throughout the world.