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Joel Grimes

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I am an artist/illusionist. Photography is not reality and never has been; at best it is a representation of reality. By using the creative process, my goal is to give my views a since of something larger than life. It is a combination of something that could be viewed as real, but crosses the line into something that has a touch of fantasy. In some ways, this is where the world is going, straddling the line between the two worlds.

An artist is someone who has the passion to create. In some form or another, we all have a desire to create in various degrees, this is built into our very DNA. As a result, I view everyone as an artist. For most of us, we just need the revelation to sink in.

As a general rule, we tend to gravitate towards the technical side of things and overlook the creative aspect. I view the photographic process as about 1% technical and 99% creative. Now for some this may be an over statement, so I will concede, it may be more like 2% technical and 98% creative.

From an early age I had a fascination with drawing, painting and sculpting. I was always creating or building some kind of art project. My parents really didn’t know what to do with me. But it wasn’t until my freshman year in high school that I was first introduced to photography. From the very beginning it was a perfect match. By the time I began college, my passion for the photographic process was all consuming. In 1984 I graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Photography and after a three month assisting stint in LA, I set up a commercial studio working out of Denver Colorado.

For over 26 years I have worked for many of the top advertising agencies across the globe for clients such as AARP, Abbott Labs, Arizona Office of Tourism, AT&T, Febreze, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett Packard, Hyatt, Qwest, Sony, Sturm Ruger & Co, Visa, Volvo, and most recently Red Bull.

Over the years my assignments have taken me to every state across the USA and to over fifty countries around the globe. In 1990 I produced my first coffee table book, ‘Navajo, Portrait of a Nation’ which received a number of photographic and design awards and produce an eighteen-month solo exhibit at the Smithsonian American History museum.

I look at myself as an ambassador for the creative process by teaching workshops and lectures across the country. I feel that by being an open book with my process I have an opportunity to inspire others to follow their dreams and passions to create. Currently, I resides between Tucson and Los Angeles with his wife and our four children.

How did you get started in the business? Who helped/guided/mentored you?
“Lou Bernal was a photo teacher at Pima Community College in Tucson. He is the main reason I am a photographer today.”

From Joel:
If you’re thinking about coming to another After Dark Event, remember to learn and build relationships If you’ve never been to After Dark be prepared for little sleep, and bring an open mind! ‘Hard work will out perform talent any day of the week’

Joel Grimes

Contact Info:
Email Joel
Facebook Joel Grimes Photography

After Darks Attended: 1
“Interacting with the other photographers”

Fun Facts:

  • Canon Shooter
  • Mostly In-Studio Sessions
  • Some Travel Session

Majority of Business:

  • Commercial Advertising


  • Depending on the Situation

Top 5 Skills:

  1. Lighting
  2. Marketing
  3. Photoshop
  4. HDR
  5. Fixing Volkswagons in the middle of nowhere