D James Rowlan

Words and Photo / D James Rowlan


Silted Beauty

In honor of summer and the recent solstice I am sharing one of my favorite summer portraits.

This shot was taken at, what I have deemed “The Cove,” in 2015. “The Cove” is a small, rocky cave along the Turnagain Arm, which is only accessible at low tide. It’s a beautiful stony area next to the Cook Inlet, sun-kissed with brilliant orange-yellow skies over the mountains.

The low tide brings damp, silty beaches, which were sifted to create this mud look. Bryanna Fogel (@_fagel_) was brave enough to be covered in the cold sand, have it dried to her body, and additional wet silt applied to establish this wet/dry look.

I love how the colors pop and the shine of her eyes in the sun. The silty cover complements the colors with a gritty contrast. It’s a wonderful compilation representing an Alaskan summer.


Little Yarn Geisha

In 2004, I turned down a photography scholarship at Oklahoma City University to move to Alaska. My wife and two small children packed our belongings in a U-Haul and drove 4,000 miles to Wasilla. When we arrived, jobs had not been obtained and we lived in a friend’s basement for a few months. Supporting my family became the priority and photography became an extinct lifestyle. After moving to Anchorage and adding two more kids to the family (all boys) I picked up photography again in 2013. 

My photography style is different than most viewing photography more as an art than a profession. Like my style: my studio is unconventional, it is a converted storage locker located in a South Anchorage three story building. As I started decorating the rooms with photos, the studio was lovingly nicked named “The Killroom” by the models I worked with, referencing the TV show Dexter. To this day, the studio is called “the Killroom.”

This shot was taken of Rebecca Lowe (@lowelightimages) in 2014. The MUA was Sandy Moses (@sandyloo117), who applied the hair and make-up. Becca’s idea was to create hair out of yarn for a doll-type look. Sandy took the idea and created the perfect make-up creating this gorgeous headshot. One of my all-time favorites.


Maui Princess

This photo has to be one of my all-time favorite shots. The location, the headdress, the make-up and the model make this an incredible shot. 

The shoot was in a Maui jungle, north of Lahaina, under some of the tallest trees I have seen. The vines wrapped around Jenna Tate (@jenna_t8) were growing and flowing from the trees. The sunlight slightly leaked through the trees, making this a darker more saturated image. The headdress, representing my childhood in Oklahoma, was handmade by an Indian man from Indonesia—not Oklahoma, which I find ironic—added to the color saturation and mood of the shot.

Sandy Moses (@sandyloo117), my MUA who traveled to Maui with us, added the perfect contrasting make-up colors to Jenna, making the entire image pop.


D. James Rowlan is a local Anchorage artist who originally hails from Oklahoma City. He turned down a photography scholarship to move to Alaska in 2004 to work for a local company as a telecom designer. He has been happily married for almost 20 years, raising four sons and recently adding a foster son to the family. If you're interested in his art check him out on Instagram @djamesrowlan or his website djamesrowlan.com