Jim Dow's photographs focus on the passage of time as it is recorded in landscapes from North Dakota to Great Britain to Argentina. Using an 8 x 10 inch view camera, Dow turns his lens to roadside signs, aging buildings, and interiors that feel locked in another era. His images honestly record the scenes before his camera, avoiding sentiments of nostalgia while paying tribute to lands marked by past and current residents.
In the early 1980s, the North Dakota Museum of Art commissioned Jim Dow to photograph folk art within the landscape. The Museum had mounted a large survey of regional folk art and concluded that much lay elsewhere, unmovable, unrecognized, at risk to the elements. Twenty years later, Dow returned, once again "in love with North Dakota." This time his instructions were to photograph whatever he pleased. Ultimately the 300-plus images became part of the Museum's larger Emptying Out of the Plains initiative through which artists have been commissioned to respond to the population shifts that are forcing the people of the Northern Plains to re-imagine their lives.
In Making the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota, Dow pushes his viewer to reconsider familiar surroundings and discern the beauty and cultural history hidden in modern landscapes.