Meet Jim Welninski

Jim is a teaching artist in the truest sense. A fine art photographer/educator living and working in Chicago, he emphasizes vision and imagination over style and technique and has won many international awards for his work. He also teaches photography in the classroom at R.S. Chicago Photography Classes. Many of his students are award-winning photographers themselves.

Jim’s 25-year career in professional media production, where he worked as an animator, video editor, sound mixer, dialog editor, writer, and producer provided him with a wide range of skills and insights into the creative process. He is devoted to sharing those ideas with other artists wishing to realize their vision and the purpose of their work.

“I teach my students much more than how to move sliders around in a piece of software. That’s certainly an important part of what we do, but it’s only a part of the process of making great work. I teach my students how to reach inside themselves and make personal work that matters. We cover a lot of camera and post-processing techniques along the way, but I believe that tools should always be the servant of vision. My passion lies in helping photographic artists leverage those tools in unique ways by helping them to find direction and vision in their work. I’m committed to helping people explore the creative process itself because that’s where the gold is. That’s where we all find our true work. Each one of us knows that we have great work inside us. We want to make photographs that are unique and have meaning, that reflect our passion and our way of seeing the world. But we don’t know how to express that. We spend our creative lives searching for inspiration not knowing that all the while it sits right in front of our face.Those things lie in all of us if we know how and where to look.”


Here’s what people are saying:

“Jim is one of those people that expects greatness from his students because of his belief that every one of us has an enormous wealth of creativity. His instruction is kind and patient, he always reminds you that you know more than you did yesterday and that you will know still more tomorrow. Be warned, you will not just be learning techniques if you become his student, you will find yourself on a path into the imagination.”
Dominica Wasilewska Fisher

Photographer/Photography Instructor

“Jim is that rare kind of teaching artist that genuinely cares about each student’s growth and challenges them to maximize the full potential of their photographic material. I can sincerely say I wouldn’t be half the artist had I never crossed paths with Jim’s mentorship and inspiring work. When Jim speaks and engages you, you sit up and listen. He is the master come down from the top of the mountain with the ease and experience to explain both the creative, inner process and the technical skills needed to realize world class, photographic art.”

Jeffrey Gabriel Silva

Photographer/Photography Instructor

“When I met Jim, I knew right away that there was ‘something’ about him and his work. After seeing his presentation at a photography conference, I decided to take his Black and White Artistry class. It was a beautiful and powerful experience. Jim helped me to define and pursue my vision and taught me the techniques I needed to perfect my work. Most importantly, he understood me, the person and the artist. I am proud to call him mentor.”

Federica Ghidelli

Photographer/Photography Instructor

“Jim is a one-of-a kind, brilliant teacher and mentor. The one you’ll remember for the rest of your life. The one who will push you to become better than you ever imaged. He has enabled me, coached me, and given me the confidence to pursue my vision. And he helped me understand what vision is: something abstract made real through creative work. Not only did he give me tools and techniques that made my vision come to life, he showed me how to see the world in a different way. He taught me that I’m not just a photographer, I’m an artist who happens to use a camera.”

Barb Pashup

Fine Art Photographer