Lassen County showcases beauty in all its forms during all four seasons. Wildlife is abundant, the mountains are picturesque and photographer James Q. Eddy takes full advantage of this.
A California native, Eddy has been a Susanville resident for 30 years. Along with wife Debbie, he purchased nearly 40 acres at the edge of town and together they proceeded to build an all-solar home off the grid.
In fact, someone might not even recognize Eddy without his wife of 50 years at his side. In addition to raising three daughters together, the couple has worked together as surveyors for 37 years.
This idyllic existence was interrupted in 2008 when Eddy’s eyes hemorrhaged, resulting in permanent damage that left him with impaired vision and blind spots. Soon after, he was also diagnosed with leukemia.
Eddy’s family, friends and faith were instrumental in his treatments and he is now in remission. The experience brought with it a renewed outlook on life and Eddy yearned for something to pour his passion into.
With diminished eyesight, yet an increased sense of purpose, Eddy bought his first semi-professional camera at the age of 59. On his first excursion, Eddy captured a photo that won Best of Show at the Lassen County Fair.
Eddy admits that he barely knew how to operate the sophisticated camera at that time and thought, “if I can win an award by taking a picture without knowing what I am doing, what could I do if I learned some things about using the camera?”
A perusal of his work at jimmyqphoto.com answers that question. With experimentation and the honing of his technique, Eddy’s ability to capture shadow and light is uncanny. He takes ordinary objects and elevates them to a spiritual realm, invisible to the naked eye, yet revealed to us through his lens and timing.
Though Eddy’s sight has been diminished, he enlarges our view. It is a mystery. Eddy believes the heavenly scenes he captures for us have otherworldly origins.
“What I came to understand very quickly, is that when I snapped that shutter, the Lord’s hand was right there with me.” A viewing of Eddy’s work adds credence to this theory.
Eddy offers, “I hope that what I photograph will please those who view it. My desire is that some might even be inspired by what I see…”
Another James once said, “An artist is not paid for his labor, but for his vision.”
If what James McNeill Whistler said is true, we owe a debt of gratitude to Eddy for allowing us to glimpse the world through his eyes.