James Cloutier was born in Portland, Oregon and enrolled at the University of Oregon in 1958 on a baseball scholarship. Cloutier studied art and served as student body vice-president during his senior year. After graduation, he joined the Peace Corps and travelled though Kenya. Upon his return from Kenya, Cloutier returned to the University of Oregon to pursue his Master of Fine Arts degree.
He learned to print photographs in order to reduce exhibition costs and quickly developed a love of photography. He actively pursued an education in photography through the School of Journalism, as photography was not part of the M.F.A. program at that time. Cloutier and one fellow student became the first graduates of the art department to earn an M.F.A. in photography. The work for his Master's Thesis, a photo essay on Alpine, Oregon, became the content for his 1977 book, The Alpine Tavern, published by his newly formed Image West Press. This work makes up the bulk of the University of Oregon Libraries collection of Cloutier's photographs.
Cloutier published books and greeting cards of his cartoons and photographs though Image West Press, before securing local notoriety though the publication of the first Poster Map of Eugene, Oregon in 1985. 75 local businesses paid to be a part of the the map, which sold out due to it's popularity. In 2004 Cloutier published an Poster Map of Eugene with over 300 local businesses taking part. He continues to live in Eugene.
The collection consists of contact prints, mounted photographs and negatives of approximately 70 images used in the illustration of Cloutier's 1977 book, The Alpine Tavern. The collection also contains a copy of the book and two audio tape interviews relating to Cloutier's work in Alpine, Oregon.
Selected photographs in this collection are available online as digital images. See the James Cloutier photographs in the University of Oregon Libraries' Digital Collections.
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[Identification of item], James Cloutier photographs, PH263_[item number], Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.