James Heil’s photographic career started on September 11, 2001, when he made his way down to Ground Zero to see the century’s first great cataclysm with his own eyes, through his own lens. Building upon a passionate need to see the world’s major events, history in the making, via the immediacy of his own experience, he has compounded his own self-taught techniques via studies with Portland, Maine’s influential SALT program for documentary reportage, veteran shooter Eddie Adams, a host of photo workshops and seminars, and four years of constant photographing, both on assignment and via Heil’s own enterprising freelance endeavors. The latter track has taken him to Haiti for that nation’s 2004 uprising, as well as Rome following Pope John Paul II’s death, from the cranberry bogs of Maine to the urban landfill cities and rural canefields of Guatemala. He has covered the political tensions of Summer 2004’s Republican Convention in New York City and bittersweet utopianism of this past year’s Rainbow Gathering in backwoods West Virginia, the self-conscious ennui of today’s rural youth and the bitter feuds of small town politics. He combines his NYC upbringing with a contemporary appreciation of his current home base in the culturally-rich Woodstock, NY area.