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"A technique can have a short life span, but inspiration can last a life time."

- Joel Grimes



For Joel Grimes, art is an extension of life. His passion to create is built into his very DNA. Art is not simply defined by the finished product, but by the process one pours into the very act of creating.

As a young child, Joel had to be drawing, painting, sculpting, playing music or building something. He did anything that he could have done to have create his own signature or creation. He saw it as an explosion of self expression poured out in the unending process of living. Creating is as natural as breathing.

His first official art class was in middle school and was nothing short of heaven. To have art taught in an academic classroom gave validation to the process of creating. It wasn't until his freshman year in high school that he was first introduced to photography. From the very beginning, it was a perfect marriage. By the time he began attending college, his passion for the photographic process was all consuming. In 1984, he received a BFA in photography from the University of Arizona and soon after established a commercial studio working out of Denver, Colorado.

For over 26 years, he has worked for many of the top advertising agencies across the globe. His assignments have taken him to every state across the USA and to over fifty countries around the globe.

In 1992, his first coffee table book, "Navajo, Portrait of a Nation" was produced and it received a number of photographic and design awards, which led to an eighteen-month solo exhibit at the Smithsonian American History museum.

"In defining my work, I view myself as an illusionist; creating images larger than life. The photographic process is in a constant flux of change. I believe embracing that change gives me a greater option to fulfill my vision as an artist. Without question, I believe we are in the greatest age of photography since its conception," Joel said.

Over the years, he has sought to be an ambassador for the photographic process, by teaching workshops and offering video tutorials. By being an open book with his process, he believes he has the opportunity to inspire others to follow their dreams and passions to create. He is honored to be a part of the prestigious Canon Explorers of Light team.

He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

Videos & Articles

Joel Grimes, Commercial advertising photographer

Joel Grimes discusses his career and passion for photography in our series of videos introducing our Explorers of Light.