Jim Cooluris started his photography career in and on the sea. It seemed a natural thing to do, growing up with the California Channel Islands only 11 miles from his home in Oxnard. With the closest of the California Channel Islands only 11 miles away from Oxnard, he had easy access to an amazing world of kelp forests and sea life. During those years he enjoyed sharing his passion for the underwater world with his many students and friends, teaching them how to photograph, care for and respect the fragile ocean environment.

After completing a special underwater photography course at Brooks Institute of Photography in 1968, Cooluris became an avid and talented photographer both above and under water. His first (of many) articles and photographs were published in Skin Diver Magazine in 1971, and one of his photographs graced the cover in 1977. His work has also appeared on the covers of both Diver Magazine in Canada and National Fisherman (His photograph of a working sea urchin diver was the first underwater cover shot in the history of the latter). Cooluris' photographs have also been published in a series of books by Jacques Cousteau, and "Jacques Cousteau, The Ocean World."  He was the principal photographer for the book "Swimming and Aquatics Today" by West Publishing. His photographs appear on several covers of the textbooks by Life Design Publications. His film and video footage has been featured in programs on The Discovery Channel.

For two decades, Jim worked closely with his good friend, the late underwater filmmaker, Jack McKenney. He performed many duties, including still photographer, production manager, general aide and even actor during the many independent film productions in the Caribbean, Mexico and throughout the California Channel Islands.

Jim also worked closely with Jack’s son, John of Jack McKenney Productions Inc. (JMPI) as a still photographer and production coordinator of JMPI’s documentary films of the sea for The Discovery Channel.

During the 90’s he was the photographer for Aquatic Bioassay & Consulting Laboratories Inc. in Ventura, CA. Cooluris photographically documented countless ocean monitoring surveys along the coastal and offshore waters of California as well as producing promotional videos for the laboratory.



During the late 1990’s to the middle 2000’s Jim assisted his friend and former photo student, Joe Wysocki as an advisor and photography workshop instructor  with Joe’s company Optiquatics, specializing in photographic dive adventures along the Pacific Coast from Baja, to the California Channel Islands and up the Inside Passage from Vancouver to Alaska.

During that time period, Jim realized with the passage of years and age, that his time on the ocean was limited. He became more enchanted with topside photography and began making numerous trips to the Eastern Sierras, California deserts and coastal areas where he embraced his passion for nature photography. During his many years as an underwater photographer, he had always enjoyed the use of ultra wide-angle lenses on his cameras. It was a simple transition to use these lenses topside, where they afforded a different perspective of nature. As he began to experiment more with these lenses and digital photography, his commitment for photography increased. Now he shot photographs that expressed his view of nature. In April, 2006, Jim had a four page article and photographs published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine on the use of ultra wide –angle lenses.


Jim Cooluris 2008


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