Sharing what words can’t express |

Sharing what words can’t express

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO, Colorado
AE Jim Lamont DT 7-25-07

Editor’s note: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Red Cliff Studio Tour. In the 10 days leading up to the Aug. 25 and 26 event, we’ll profile each of the 10 artists participating in this year’s tour.

Photography serves as therapy for artist Jim Lamont, who calls it “a relief from the verities of politics.” As Vail’s director of community development until 1977 and current executive director of the Vail Village Homeowners Association, Lamont is more than familiar with Vail’s political climate.

“I spend my time, my professional life, talking about the future and what the community could accomplish and so my photographs are kind of delving into subjects that you can’t really verbalize that well. I think the series I did in Berlin is an example of that.”

The series features photos of the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial, the old Soviet Congress Hall and the Brandenburg Gate, all of which hang in the Red Cliff studio/ home he shares with his wife, painter Joan Norris.

“Some of my stuff gets pretty deep,” he said. “You have to know some of your world and current history to know what I’m trying to say.”

Along with photos Lamont has taken during his travels to Peru, South Africa, Greece, Turkey, China and Russia, he’s extensively photographed the Holy Cross Wilderness area. The photos of streams and flowers are in sharp contrast to something like his Berlin series, but he said that neither subject matter stands out as more or less inspirational.

“Whatever environment I go into I look for beauty, from the natural environment and the man made environment, as well as how human beings express themselves in their political aspirations or frustrations.”

Art, for Lamont, is always about art ” and not ever about marketing or money, he said. He’s participated in the Red Cliff Studio Tour for five years now, but selling his photos is not top of mind, he said.

“It’s kind of like revealing your inner self to people. (The point) is to share your work and share yourself with other people at a level that words can’t express.”

Though Lamont said his art is completely separate from his work, he does use photography to learn more about his life’s work.

“I travel to learn more about my professional interest ” city planning, that’s my first love. Where ever I’m going, I’m always going ‘hmmm, is that something we should be looking at more seriously for Vail?'”

He takes photos of street lights, buses, manhole covers and even garbage cans that will serve as visual notes later on, even though monumental architecture and landscapes are his favorite subjects.

“I finally got my shot of the Parthenon this last fall and my wife will always say, I’m always trying to get the photograph without people in it and I actually do pretty good at it.”

For more information about the Red Cliff Studio Tour, visit

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