Gualala Arts logo


Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.


Local Artist

Jamie McHugh - Photography

Nature • Being • Art

"Whenever we touch nature we get clean. People who have got dirty through too much civilization take a walk in the woods, or a bath in the sea. They shake off the fetters and allow nature to touch them. It can be done within or without. Entering the unconscious, entering yourself through dreams, is touching nature from the inside and this is the same thing, things are put right again." - C.G. Jung

Studio Discovery Tour artist Jamie McHugh: Untitled 17 I am a somatic movement educator and expressive arts therapist. Originally, I was an NEA Artist-in-Residence in the Midwest, bringing creative dance and drama to schools and communities.

After I moved to the Bay Area, I changed my focus to art as a healing force. I have been on faculty at Anna Halprin's Tamalpa Institute since 1988 and in the Holistic Health department at John F Kennedy University since 1991. My current work - Somatic Expression - centers on understanding the body's nature and becoming fluent in its languages of expression.

Studio Discovery Tour artist Jamie McHugh: Kelp I am also a photographer of nature's body. This has been my personal meditation for 35 years. Only in the past two years have I felt compelled to bring my work out into the public eye. In that time, I have been commissioned to create large-format images for a motel in Big Sur, and have exhibited in numerous shows throughout California. I am working on getting my images, with their calming movement and stillness, into hospitals and other healing environments to support bodies in distress.

For me, photography in nature is similar to somatic explorations of the body: focusing attention, sensing and responding to movement, exploring different angles and discovering something new.

My art and life are driven by the quest for new experiences and unique perceptions. Both body and nature are complex, intelligent landscapes that require time and patience to understand. I have to unplug my modern brain and drop down into body/earth time to access their wisdom.

I spend a lot of time at the water's edge, transfixed by the dynamic balance of movement and stillness. The somatic tools of breath, sound, movement and stillness soften the boundary between my body and the environment, bringing me more fully into the present moment. It is like being in a dream state while fully awake. By getting out of my head, connecting to my surroundings, and participating so intimately with the wildness of nature, I have a sense of coming home again, back to my roots as a human being on a mysterious and magnificent planet. It is this intimate exchange that I want my images to convey.

Studio Discovery Tour artist Jamie McHugh: Low Tide 4 Studio Discovery Tour artist Jamie McHugh: Low Tide 5

My photographs are Fuji "C" archival prints. I do minimal alterations with Photoshop; what you see is what I saw - or, at least, what the camera's sensor saw. I then mount the prints on aluminum with a UV-protective luster lacquer and a recessed back frame. Limited edition archival prints, both mounted and unmounted, are available in 16x20, 20x30, 30x40 and 30x48 formats.

Studio Discovery Tour artist Jamie McHugh

Contact Information:

Jamie McHugh
377 Roosevelt Way
San Francisco, CA 94114

Phone: 415-250-4133

© copyright 2008 - all rights to the images are retained by the artist