My name is James "Chip" Thomas. Though a native of North Carolina, I moved to the Navajo nation in 1987 to work as an Indian Health Services Physician, where I continue to work and live. During this time I have taught myself black and white photography and work in my homemade darkroom. Two photographers who greatly inspire me are Eugene Richards and James Nachtwey who I was able to study with in 1992 and 1994.
I took a leave from work for one year in 1992 to join four other cyclists in order to be the team Physician for a transcontinental African bicycle expedition. Our adventure took us from Africa's northernmost point (Bizerte, Tunisia) 12,000 miles to the southernmost point (Cape Aghulas, South Africa). We covered this distance in 9 and 1/2 months and were rewarded with a certificate from Guinness Book of World Records for our efforts. In the Fall of 1998 I returned to east Africa for 3 months. a few images from each trip are presented on the website, though the majority are from the Navajo nation.
Working on the Navajo nation has proved to be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding experiences of my life. I'm indebted to the Navajo people for the life lessons they've taught me. The images presented here are drawn from my experiences of the last 15 years.