If you are familiar with the art of James Bama, you will immediately think of his beautiful photo-realistic paintings, paintings filled with the people of the West—Native Americans, cowboys, rodeo clowns, ranchers, and a host of others.
But what you may not know is that all of these paintings were inspired by photographs, and the photographs were inspired by the personalities that lived in and passed through Cody. Bama was drawn to their stories, their lifestyles, their looks—and most importantly for his art—what they symbolized.
“There is a lot of history out here. It is very exciting and very personal. I…am impelled to put the parts together as a puzzle. Wyoming is young enough, and concentrated enough, so one can piece the picture into an integral whole.”
As an artist, James Bama tells stories by constructing a visual narrative. He finds models, fashions backdrops, fixes the lighting, discusses poses, and, in some cases, provides outfits and props. All these elements come together in his photographs and create an opening for the viewer to see the West through Bama’s eyes.
Developing Stories: The Photography of James Bama will open in early spring 2014.