On Saturday November 6, 2021, James “Jim” Valentine, loving father of four children and five grandchildren, lost his battle with cancer at the age of seventy-nine.

A native Floridian, Jim grew up in Fort Myers Beach and lived in Tallahassee for 25 years.

Jim was a poet, master photographer, artist, naturalist, explorer, educator, filmmaker, and wild lands advocate. He founded and was president of the non-profit Quest Foundation now celebrating its 50th Anniversary. He was a National Fellow of The Explorers Club.

Considered one of the most extraordinary photographers in the South Jim dedicated his life to preserving and celebrating the Earth’s wild lands through his fine art photography. He leaves so much of his spirit behind in his many books and photographs of the wild places he loved. Through his photographs Jim showcased the unusual beauty of the Southern lands as well as the urgent need to preserve them.

Jim will be best remembered for his large-format fine art photography published in fifteen books including Florida – Images of the Landscape, North Carolina, Volumes I & II, and Southern Light. He was working on his tour-de-force, Islands in the Sky, Lost Worlds of El Dorado, a spectacular photography work showcasing South American table-top mountains where he and his coauthor made four expeditions to a remote and poorly known biodiversity hotspot. Lean more about Jim’s work at QuestFoundation.com.

Jim is survived by his four children Forest Valentine, Philip Valentine, Lisa Valentine and Mark Valentine, and grandchildren Kailee Evamarie Valentine Smith, Sterling Valentine-Hewitt, April Hansen, Faye Valentine, and Isaiah Edgar-Valentine. He was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Joseph Manson and Elizabeth May Valentine.

A Celebration of Jim’s life will take place in the coming spring.

4 thoughts on “James Phillips Valentine”

  1. Jim was so very passionate about his work and recording images of our world – often a world few see as he would head deep into the forest, the dunes, the swamps, the mountains to find just the right spot to capture the essence and fragility of the place so he might share it with the rest of us. Jim was exactly who he wanted to be – joyful, child like at times, determined…an explorer in all things.

    Safe travels –

  2. Jim was one of my mentors. His passionate for wilderness areas, his amazing photography, his love of the story and of course his amazing talent for movie making, captioning wild areas, wildlife and people of the land, he gave so much to conservation. For my husband and I, he was a great visitor to our home in Vancouver, Canada. Ethic food, stories and music filled our lives together. I have so many epic traveling stories i could tell of back road trips into wild forests of the Pacific Northwest. Jim always brought us a present, a new musical instrument from another country, special antique jewelry for me and one time a small rug from Europe. Jim taught me a lot about photography, the colour, the balance and of course the light. I will always see images through his eyes. Jim has a very special place in our hearts. “May his soul set free, rising high, always encircling the ones he loved.”

  3. I am so very sorry to learn at this late date, of Jim’s death. Working with him on Southern Appalachian Celebration was a highlight of my life. I last spoke with him in spring of 2021; it was difficult to track him down in CO, and he was trying to get back to FL. He left a rich, powerful, and long lasting legacy.

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