About the Artist

Curriculum Vitae


November 2019 - Artwork "Zion's Depths" chosen to be featured in Saatchi Art's "Flora and Fauna" Collection


March 2018 - Received First Place Award of Excellence for the "Seasons" exhibition at the J. Mane Gallery 

July 2018 - Received Second Place Award of Excellence for the "H2O" exhibition at the J. Mane Gallery 


2020 - Group exhibition - "Phoenix On Film" Three of my toned silver gelatin fine art pieces depicting scenes of Phoenix, Arizona were placed and on exhibit for the month of March 2020 at the Phoenix Film Revival darkroom, studio and gallery.

2009 - Solo exhibition - "Natural Adaptations" A collection of abstract black and white silver prints. Photomark Phoenix, Az


Several times a year I attend art festivals throughout Arizona to sell my fine art photographic prints. 

If I have something coming up you can find my show calendar


I'm mostly self taught with photography but I did take photo 1 & 2, painting, drawing, life drawing, art history, 2 dimensional design, and various other courses to acquire a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Art Education through Ottawa University in 2009.


I’m influenced by the works of Minor White, Aaron Siskind, Michael Kenna, Edward Weston, and Jack Dykinga to name a few. 


I experience photography as a way to connect

to the world. I create fine art nature photography

prints to offer you a chance

to connect with the world through my ideas,

thoughts, and visions.


My love of nature stems back to growing up in the small town in Ohio where the woods, creeks, rivers, and lakes were my playgrounds and would later become my escape from the social institutions forced upon us as we grow older. 

I would rather walk for miles down the seemingly endless railroad tracks finding adventure around every bend than attend classes in school. Playing in the woods beyond the creek behind the house I grew up in always took precedence over doing homework. 

That began my love and admiration of nature.

I later moved to the San Francisco/Bay Area California where I again fell in love. With both the girl who is now my wife and the vastly diverse landscape. From the sandy Pacific beeches to the redwoods of the Muir woods. The grassy, oak littered hills of Black Diamond Mines Regional Park to the collosal granite mountain faces of Yosemite. There was so much to explore! Then, things began to change. Work, bills, responsibilities all crept in somewhere along the way. I married the love of my life and my son was born soon after. Life moved on. My family an I would get out and go for hikes as often as we could but other things had priority.

Fast forward a few years. Around the time my daughter was born, My job market had collapsed several months before and my wife was let go from her job. Things got bad. we could no longer afford our mortgage and other bills were piling up. We made our decision to leave California quickly. So we put our house on the market, packed our things, and moved to Arizona. 

One of the first jobs I found was working for a photo lab as a print technician.  One day a lady came in to have her sons roll of Kodak processed. On the roll was an amazing array of abstract photographs. I'd never seen anything like it on film. Paintings sure. But I had no idea that you could do something like that with a camera! That's where my interest in photography began.  Then and there, I started my long journey of devouring all the photography information I could get my hands on!

I started doing portrait photography and met a colleague who became one of my closest friends. He introduced me to darkroom printing. One print is all it took for me to get hooked and that ultimately led me to take photography at a local college. My passion for photography really started when I began printing my own work. In the wet darkroom of Glendale Community College I learned how to print. Using the advanced techniques taught by the instructors there I learned what it took to truly craft a real fine art print. 

It didn't stop with photography though.

The more experience I gained making the camera the tool of my trade, the more I wanted to figure out how to combine the mechanical, chemical, electronic, and optical equipment with the emotional and spiritual lift I got when I was out hiking and exploring nature. So back to school I went. This time to study the arts and teaching.  

​By studying the other arts such as painting, drawing, two dimensional design, architectural drawing, and life drawing, I've learned that it's less about the photograph and more about the artist. It's about putting myself in the work of art and developing my own style and vision! And, to that end, I've spent more time ignoring the grand landscape and aiming for a glimpse into the more intimate details that exist in nature.

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Phoenix, Arizona 
(623) 826-5917
© Copyright Soft Shadows Photography

© Thomas Watkins Fine Art all rights reserved