Jim Willis

J. Franklin Willis - Photographic Artist

In a recent critical review of an exhibit a reviewer wrote, “J. Franklin Willis is a true naturalist photographer. Almost all the subjects in his recent one person show were taken out of doors without the aid of artificial lighting. Dr. Willis photographs a wide array of scenes, spanning landscapes and botanical shots to studio scenes with his Old English Sheepdog, Dalmatian or West Highlands Terrier in ‘Wagmanesque’ poses”

Dr. Willis currently is featured at 1826 The Marcus Whitman Gift Shop, Sweetwater Paper and Home, The Inland Octopus and at Walla Walla's Farmers Market. He has had the privilege of exhibiting his work in Walla Walla at the Skylite Gallery, Darrah’s Decorator Center and the Carnegie Center. Dr. Willis has also felt privileged to have his works added to the corporate collections of Far West Federal Saving, Portland General Electric and U.S. Bancorp.

Until recently Jim preferred professional slide film in either the 35 mm or 2.25 square formats. Jim has recently joined the digital revolution in photography. Jim laments that the time for processing of professional slide film has grown from one or two days to three or four weeks. Thus, Jim has joined the digital camera club.

Occasionally Jim’s creative side runs wild and with the magic possible with the computerized darkroom he seeks radical transformations. Such is the case with Jim’s Glass Roses. Taking a portrait of a rose as his starting point Jim wanted to make the rose appear as though it were made of blown glass or fine artist’s wax. His wife Dot suggested the blue color, a color not natural to roses. After much experimentation Jim’s glass rose images were created for your enjoyment.

Although trained as a journalist, Jim has no formal training in photography or art. What appears to be a natural eye, extensive reading and lots of practice have developed Jim’s talent. However, Jim’s formal education has been an adventure: expelled from grade school for being retarded, graduated from high school with high honors, a Bachelor of Science from Oregon State University, a Master of Science from Purdue University and an Ed.D. from Oregon State University have made for an interesting educational journey. In his recent position as Tech Prep Coordinator at Walla Walla Community College, his own unusual educational journey has helped Jim to understand some students’ non-traditional educational journeys and helped him to advocate for non-traditional options which may benefit both the students and society.

With the exception of a short break for graduate school at Purdue and eight years in Hawaii, Jim has spent his adult life in the Pacific Northwest. He married his college sweetheart, Dorothy Hudlow, on September 11, 1965 in Portland, Oregon. Dot’s family is from Southeastern Washington where the Hudlows, her father’s family, homesteaded and her mother’s family, the Soths, was active in the community with grandfather Soth being an early newspaper editor. Jim and Dot have two grown children. Monte and Sue’s recent marriage has added a delightful lady to the Willis clan. Monte’s recently formed Washington and Oregon law partnership with Debra Toews is based in Walla Walla. Carrie resides on a game reserve in Iowa with her husband Jon and their two children Mckenzie and Aspen.