Jamey Stillings grew up in Oregon, the son of two politically, environmentally and socially conscious parents, earned a BA in Art from Willamette University (1978), and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology (1982). His master's thesis, Nicaragua: A Society in Transition (1980-81), examined social and economic change in three rural Nicaraguan communities following the 1979 Sandinista revolution.
Over three decades, Stillings built a commercial photography business, integrating both fine art and documentary work. In 2009, Stillings embarked on a personal project, The Bridge at Hoover Dam, documenting its monumental construction over the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. The project become both a solo exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, curated by Rebecca Senf, and a fine art book (Nazraeli Press) with an essay by Guggenheim Fellow, William Fox. Work from the bridge project has been published in over twenty magazines around the world and has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the 2013 London exhibition, Landmark - The Fields of Photography, curated by William Ewing. Photography from The Bridge at Hoover Dam received several awards: 2010 CENTER Editor's Choice Award, First Place; International Photography Awards, 2nd Place Architecture; American Photography 26; Best of ASMP 2010; PDN Photography Annual 2010; Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award Finalist 2010; and a 2012 Prix Pictet nomination. The book won the 2013 Gold Quill Award.
Stillings continues to seek new opportunities to integrate his aesthetic interest in the human-altered landscape with concerns for environmental sustainability. In October 2010, he commenced aerial photography over the future site of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert of California. At the end of 2013, Ivanpah Solar became the world's largest concentrated solar thermal power plant producing 377 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power 140,000 American homes.
The project now has its own momentum. "The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar" has received The Epson Creativity Award in the PDN Photo Annual 2015, First Place Fine Art in the APA Awards 2014, and First Place in the 2013 International Photography Awards (IPA) in the Editorial Environmental Professional category, among many awards. First published in June 2012, by Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography at The New York Times Magazine, the work has since been published around the world, including: Australian Public Broadcasting, B&W Magazine, Le Monde, Neue Energie, New Scientist, Newsweek Japan, NPR, The Picture Show, Orion Magazine, Time and Wired. Photographs from the project been exhibited in the United States, the Netherlands, and Colombia. The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar is now both an exhibition and a book (Steidl 2015).
Stillings' extended project, Changing Perspectives will build upon the Ivanpah Solar body of work by expanding his look at contemporary energy development. Renewable energy projects are being built around the world at a remarkable pace. Over the next few years his goal is to develop Changing Perspectives into a global study.