MeI have been a photographer for over 40 years and my love for the medium and particularly for portraiture is undiminished,  I still accept commissions and enjoy it immensely.  I strive to portray the integrity of every individual I photograph and am willing to devote the time necessary to ensure that the image conveys exactly that.   In this age of selfies, the power of a good portrait remains undeniable. 

You can contact me by email at  I check it twice a day and will answer promptly.

My roots are in film of course but I now use digital as well as it allows me to bring new ideas to my picture making.  I work specifically to the print and am now incorporating other media such as drawing and painting into my art practice. 

Last year I was fortunate to acquire an Improved Seneca 5×7 View Camera which I am now working with.  I am shooting paper negatives and though I find it very challenging, It is a thrilling project.  I hope to be posting work from this project soon.

I have authored four books on the subject of photography and seeing;  –   Nudes, Photographs, Notes, Observations and Ideas,  – Search For Silence, Photographs and Notes    –  Developing Style, A Photographer’s Workbook and  –  Dreams and Realities which is available in PDF or Epub formats.   

My work has also been featured in a number of publications including Rod Ashford’s Lighting for Nude Photography available from

I have been very fortunate to extend my love for the medium by teaching.  For 6 years I was the head instructor at Focal Point – the Visual Arts Learning Centre. Following that I taught at Vancouver Photo Workshops and then served as Department Head for the digital photography program at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts where I was also Chairman of their Advisory Board.

After I retired, I spent almost 7 years on Gabriola Island, BC  making pictures,  books and folios of limited edition prints but looking back I realized that the best times for me were when I was teaching photography at Focal Point, Vancouver Photo Workshops, UBC, and Vancouver Institute of Media Arts.  I have recently moved to Victoria BC where I am now going to be teaching again.    I will be offering courses and workshops through Uvic,  Coast Collective, and The Haven on Gabriola Island.  Last December I announced that I was going to start teaching again.  These were among the responses I got.



Johnathan V –  They are very lucky to have you over there. Nothing but great memories of you as a teacher.

Patricia T – Hands down, James, you are the best teacher I’ve ever had the privilege of learning from. I never enjoyed learning as much as I did with you! So happy to see you continue to share this experience with others.

Leanne L – So happy to hear you will be teaching again. I will never forget what a great teacher you were- always made me feel excited about photography.

Craig A – I valued your teachings in photography and in Life. Glad to see you are teaching again. The world need James Emler teaching.

Ellia M – Your students will be very happy, as I was, to have you as a teacher. And grateful too! Still remember your classes that helped me soooo much to settle my own photography business. Send you a big, big hug from Mexico, James.

Martha M – I am 100% sure that I would have not had the courage or knowledge to begin my business years and years ago if it weren’t for you, James Emler. Your gifts go beyond teaching, but you care about the craft and your students. We love you!

Graig D – Good luck James I’m sure your passion for what you love and show to the people who are lucky enough to meet will shine on your new endeavors. I think of you often my friend and you are the best teacher I’ve known.

I have a lot of testimonials from former students and I have to admit it is a bit overwhelming to go through them but here are a few.  I will add more over the next few weeks as I think it is important for you to know what my former students thought about my teaching.

Scott M – A keen eye and passion for all things beautiful, he managed to illustrate to the hopeful acolyte what was necessary to improve on, what was needed to be disposed of, and what was ready to be expanded.

Megan M – Thanks for being such an awesome instructor!  I love seeing the incredible passion you have for photography.  It motivates me!

Shawn M – James, you’re the man.  Thanks for being someone incredible to look up to.

Lindsey E – You are a wonderful, wonderful teacher.  Thank you so much for all your help, encouragement & support.

Philip P – I can’t wait to take another course with you.  It is one of the things I look most forward to this year.  I feel privileged to have had the opportunity in this lifetime to count you as my teacher.

Franco V – What I admire most about James is his genuine concern for people and especially his students.  You always know that he’ll be there for support in order for you to “find your vision.”

Heather S – Thank you for coming into my life as a great teacher.  Your generosity in sharing of knowledge and skill as well as your gentle human nature are a true gift.