About Joe

Joe Tomkins

The grand, rugged scenery of the Eastern Sierra was compelling enough for him to want to call it home, so several years ago Joe transplanted to Mammoth Lakes, CA.

He is on a mission to create original content in which the vast high-desert-meets-alpine landscape not only serves as a stunning backdrop, but also intertwines with the human story.  That relationship begs to be explored, captured, and conveyed, especially in the vein of mountain sport, as it seems art and athletics are twin manifestations of the same call.  


Ansel Adams was willing to haul so much gear up into the Sierra high country in order to document beautiful moments in the Range of Light.  He was a student of the craft, going in depth studying composition, lighting, tonal qualities, visualization of an image before it is made.  As a photographer I can make improvements if I follow but some of the ways of Adams, the master.  

James Nachtwey, his work a war photographer has influenced me.  He has been able to make unbelievable photos of deadly conflict around the world in such a way that they act as catalysts in changing the course of action. “If I ever allow genuine compassion to be overtaken by personal ambition I will have sold my soul.”  People are living in poverty, toiling, getting shot at, dying, all around him, and he must maintain a sense of humanity while not exploiting these people for his own benefit.  

Chris Burkard travels far and wide, to the mountains, beaches, deserts and jungles of the world, capturing jaw-dropping shots that give a sense of grand scale and show of possibilities of adventure. 

Forrest Mankins shoots more intimately, often utilizing a person or common object in the foreground, commanding attention, combined with a low-light, outdoorsy setting.  His images do well to bring out an emotional response, triggering memories of summers at the lake, camping with family, watching the high peaks glow pink in the cool summer evening air.  It’s as if you’re there too.  

Painters in the Post Script:

Caspar David Friedrich and Albert Bierstadt, German-born men, produced paintings in the style of romanticism.  Art during this period emphasized the sublimity of nature’s beauty, and our reactive emotion, awe, to this, a grand, luminous scene.  This movement inspired Thoreau’s transcendentalist thinking, as well as American’s curiosity to explore the West.  Bierstadt’s paintings of Yosemite and the Rockies glorified the magnificent landforms found on that side of the Mississippi.

Inspiration for my lifestyle, adventures, and art comes from wide ranging sources; books, movies, athletes, adventurers, etc.  That will be a longer article.


Collaborate with Joe

Have a compelling narrative that needs to be heard?  Are you exploring the ways in which you can take full advantage of your surroundings for training benefits?  How do physical actions in wild places lead you to fortitude or fulfillment?  Let's tell that story.  


Sony a6000
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
GoPro Hero 5 Black