A! Magazine for the Arts

Johnson City photographer J. Scott Graham.

Johnson City photographer J. Scott Graham.

Magazine Readers Select Johnson City Photographer's Work as 'Best'

July 6, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -Blue Ridge Country magazine readers recently chose Johnson City photographer, J. Scott Graham, as a winner among the publication's Best of the Blue Ridge Awards for 2008.

"Every five years, we create a survey to discover our readers' favorite towns, festivals, hikes, artists, restaurants and more," said the magazine's editor, Cara Ellen Modisett. "This year, Graham was selected as Gold Award Mountain Photographer among those favorites. His photographs of the Blue Ridge Mountains made an impression in the region."

For more than 20 years, Graham's iconic images of the Blue Ridge Parkway have defined America's most visited national park site. His book, Blue Ridge Parkway, America's Favorite Journey, ranks as the top-selling book ever published about the Parkway. This year, Graham introduced a series of large format giclees featuring Blue Ridge scenes. The giclees are handcrafted in North Carolina according to Graham's specifications using an extraordinarily fine mist of pigmented inks sprayed onto archival canvas. The technique creates a museum quality painterly effect that remains faithful to the original photograph.

Graham's photography is available online at www.jscottgraham.com and at 200 locations throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains. A postcard featuring his photograph of North Carolina's Whitewater Falls will appear in Paramount Pictures autumn release of The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx. His images will also be used in an upcoming HBO documentary about the UNC/Duke basketball rivalry.

The photographer still prefers to use film in this digital age. Graham believes that film gives him more control for a variety of reasons. "Digital images are easily manipulated, but film doesn't lie," he said. "When someone sees what appears to be unbelievable colors or composition in my work, I can always go back to the original transparency to authenticate my images. I feel it gives my body of work a sense of credibility in a world where seeing is no longer believing. Secondly, I still prefer editing film on a light table to reviewing images on a computer screen. I see colors and tones in film that monitors cannot produce. Thirdly, using film without seeing immediate digital results forces me to study each shot more thoroughly and more deliberately before releasing the shutter. A fine line exists between a good photograph and a great photograph."

In addition to his passion for preserving Parkway vistas through coordinated efforts with the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Graham is also working on projects for Caribbean national park sites including Puerto Rico's San Juan National Historic Site (a World Heritage Site) and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. John, St. Croix, and Buck Island Reef National Monument.

Graham graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1988. He lives in Johnson City with his wife, Cathy, and their sons Chace and Jackson.

The rest of this year's award winners are featured in the July/August issue of Blue Ridge Country, which celebrates the magazine's 20th anniversary. Reader votes were submitted through mailed paper ballots and the magazine's website.

Blue Ridge Country, produced by Leisure Publishing Company in Roanoke, VA is a bimonthly magazine with a readership of 425,000. It covers the mountains of nine states from Maryland to Alabama. Established in 1988, the publication has won state, regional, national and international awards for writing, design and editing.

J. Scott Graham
A photo of Mabry Mill from J. Scott Graham's collection.