Joel Grimes


For me art is an extension of life. I believe my passion to create is built into my 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, I had to be drawing, painting, sculpting, playing music or building something.  Anything that I could call my own; my stamp, my signature, my creation.  To step back and say, I did that.  It is an explosion of self expression poured out in the unending process of living.  Creating is as natural as breathing. 

Attending my first official art class in middle school was nothing short of heaven.  To have art taught in an academic classroom gave validation to the process of creating.  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 marriage.  By the time I began attending college, my passion for the photographic process was all consuming.  In 1984 I received a BFA in photography from the University of Arizona and soon after established a commercial studio working out of Denver, Colorado. 

Even working in the commercial arena, I have never ceased to view myself as an artist.  To position myself any other way would be absurd.  I believe it is this uncompromising passion to create that has allowed my commercial work to compete in the market place.

For over 26 years I have worked for many of the top advertising agencies across the globe.   Over the years my assignments have taken me to every state across the USA and to over fifty countries around the globe.

In 1992 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.

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. 

Over the years I have sought to be an ambassador for the photographic process by teaching workshops and offering video tutorials.  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. 

I currently reside Phoenix Arizona.



On Questions & Critiques

As much I hate to have to address this, I would love to answer everyone’s questions and critique their images, but it is literally impossible for me to do so.  There is just not enough hours in the day.  Last year I received over 40,000 emails and on average I spend over three hours each day answering emails. Many of the questions I get I have already answered on this blog or in my tutorials. Thank you

Joel Grimes Photography

Studio - 1050 N. Fairway Dr H-102

Avondale, AZ  85323

Office - 20515 W. Walton Dr.

Buckeye AZ, 85396


On Photo Assisting

Before you contact me read below

Each week I receive a dozen or so requests from aspiring photographers seeking employment as a Photo Assistant or to just tag along on one of my photo shoots.  I would love to accommodate everyone but again, it is literally  impossible to do so. The best way to catch me is at a workshop or speaking engagement.  

In 1989 I began a book project that took four hundred days in the field over two years, traveling over 90 thousand miles, exposing some 4000 rolls of film.  

It was a time when idealism prevailed over monetary gain, when the passion for creative expression superseded the very basic necessities of life. The result was a 192-page national interest coffee table book called ‘Navajo, Portrait of a Nation’. 

In the end, the book served as a by-product of something much greater; a life lesson that perseverance through adversity reaps great reward.  I have heard it said; that it is not the destination that reaps the greatest reward, but the journey getting there.

Navajo Book Project