James Neihouse has honed his skills as a professional image maker over more than four decades. In those years he has traveled the globe documenting the natural world. He has trained astronauts to shoot IMAX® films in space, consulted on design and development of various imaging systems, and mentored countless students in the photographic arts.
James began taking photographs at a very early age and has not put the camera down since that time. During his high school days, he was photographer for the Paris (Arkansas) High School Yearbook. During his sophomore year, he was accepted to the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. At the time, there was a two-year waiting list for admission to the school. Upon graduation from Brooks in 1976, he was hired by a production company specializing in underwater photography, which is where he got his first introduction to the world of IMAX® films.
When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, James was called to document the historical event in IMAX® by director George Casey. The resulting documentary film became the first IMAX® film to be nominated for an Academy Award ®.
James joined the IMAX® Space Team in 1984 during the production of The Dream Is Alive, the first IMAX® film to be shot in space by the astronauts. Since 1988, James has trained over 150 astronauts and cosmonauts how to film IMAX® in space.
In 2001, James was presented with the Silver Snoopy Award, the astronaut’s personal award for professional excellence. In the letter accompanying the award the astronauts noted “Your intimate familiarity with the IMAX® 3D camera system has allowed us to train in minimal time with what has to be the most complete and well thought-out training plan of any Space Station system. The brilliance of any footage we return to Earth is a direct reflection on the training you have given us.”
He was the first recipient of the Brooks Institute Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.
The University of Central Arkansas gave James their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016.
Since 2007, when not traveling the world capturing amazing images, James has been teaching filmmaking at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL.
James is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and an honorary member of the Malaysian Society of Cinematographers.
He has traveled the world shooting for some of the most successful large format films ever made. He has lead film crews to the remote jungles of India and Africa, filmed polar bears in the Arctic, documented the 1990 Rolling Stones Steel Wheels tour, and captured the excitement of NASCAR racing.