Meet the Artist: Photographer Jim Miller

Submitted photo. Photographing scenes like this July 4th fireworks display in downtown Millersburg is a passion for Jim Miller.

*A version of this story first appeared in The Budget’s Feb. 22, 2107 Local Edition

By Stacey Carmany
The Budget

Combining a strong eye for composition and a deep love of Holmes County, freelance photographer Jim Miller of Millersburg is making a name for himself within the local art scene.

Miller, who produces and markets his work under the name Mill Street Photography, is perhaps best known for his nighttime images of downtown Millersburg and the Holmes County Courthouse. However, his photographic interests are far-reaching. “One of my favorite things is landscapes, especially in towns,” Miller said. “I especially enjoy night time and the low-light photography. I’ve also got an interest in anything nostalgic.”

Submitted photo. Freelance photographer Jim Miller.

Miller said his interest in photography actually stems back to when he was a teenager. “My uncle was a photographer,” he shared. “I didn’t see him much because he was in California, but that started getting me intrigued by it.”

Miller said he purchased his first 35mm camera around 1985 and played around with that for a little while before losing interest in photography altogether for several years. At that point, Miller moved to Canada to help out at a school in northwestern Ontario that served the area’s native population. It was there that he would meet his future wife, Janice, a Canadian citizen who was born and raised in northern Ontario.
After finishing their commitment to the school, the couple moved back to Miller’s hometown of Millersburg and his passion for photography was reignited by a friend who had been doing some black-and-white landscapes. “That kind of got me interested again,” he said.

By that point, technology had started to change, and photographers were getting away from traditional film and darkroom development methods and starting to experiment with digital photography.

Miller said he has actually been working with digital photographs for the vast majority of his career and only dabbled with darkroom development a handful of times. His program of choice for editing his work is Lightroom, which he said he uses to adjust highlights and shadows and find a good white balance. “I typically don’t add a lot of color to it,” he noted. “I just enhance the ones that are there.”

Miller shared that most of the editing techniques he uses, he actually learned from watching videos on the internet. “There’s very little that you can’t find something on Youtube that would be tutorials for whatever area you’ re looking for,” he explained.

Miller, who currently works full time as a purchasing agent for Precision Woodworking in Sugarcreek, said he doesn’t have a lot of time these days to devote to his photography. Despite his busy schedule, he still tries to get out with his camera whenever possible.

He has also shared his passion with his three daughters, Janessa, Jiana, and Jenalyn. While all three girls have shown an interest in photography, Miller said his youngest has been especially enthusiastic. Miller said his daughter Jenalyn possesses a natural talent and has been able to go out with her camera even on dreary days and come back with great photos. “As far as having an eye for it, she has that,” he said. “I don’t have to teach her that.”

Miller and his trusty camera have had many adventures together over the years, but one that really stands out in his mind was a road trip last summer along the coast of Maine. “There was one night in particular. We were in a little town called Belfast. They had a really wide river and a walking bridge all the way across that was really neat,” Miller said. “I set up there after dark and took a lot of pictures.”

Miller said there are still several places that he has not yet visited that he would love to go to and take photos. “Alaska is someplace I’ve wanted to go to for years, and I haven’t been there yet,” he said. “Iceland has kind of caught my attention too just by some of the landscape of it.”

To see more of Jim Miller’s work or to contact him about ordering prints, visit Mill Street Photography on Facebook.

Submitted photo. Jim Miller captured this image of the harbor in Belfast, Maine, during a summer road trip with his wife, Janice.