Readers of Outdoor Photographer were first introduced to Dewitt Jones in the publication’s second issue in August 1985. By then, Jones was already well established in photography, working assignments for National Geographic and producing images for major advertising campaigns. When OP approached him to write a regular column, he was at first disinclined but was eventually persuaded, and over the years produced more than 180 “Basic Jones” columns. “That was really a major change point in my career,” he remembers. “I began to use the columns to explore the spirit of photography rather than the technical side. What is beauty? Why do some images move me to tears? What is the nature of connection I feel with the landscapes I photograph?”
Change your attitude, change your perspective. “No matter how bleak and devoid of possibilities a situation might seem,” Jones says, “if I could just celebrate the best in it, in this case just by dropping down into that slot canyon and looking back the other way, I could find a perspective that would transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.”
Three decades later, he is still asking these kinds of questions. Relentlessly positive, Jones displays an upbeat energy that is contagious. Last fall, he gave a TEDx talk in South Lake Tahoe on a theme that has become both a motto and a mantra for him over the years: “Celebrate what’s right with the world!” The 18-minute video is below, and we highly recommend you watch it. It’s filled with insights that will challenge and inspire both your photography and your worldview.