I first met Jim when I was the staff photographer for The Bainbridge Island Review, oh, so long ago.
It was a small, twice-weekly paper with a tiny staff, a storied past, and a boatload of Washington Newspaper Publisher Awards. A great number of those awards were taken home by Jim for news and business stories, but the majority were for his elegant, eloquent sports writing.
One thing that's been stuck in my head for the past 10 years, is that Jim once used the word-pair "somnambulant wave" in the description of a shot on goal in a men's water polo game. Yes, yes. Bainbridge High had a men's water polo team. Pretentious? Perhaps. And could writing about a men's water polo match in such a manner be just a little bit pretentious as well? You betcha. I guarantee 98-percent of that wealthy, erudite Seattle-bedroom-community island went for their dictionaries that day, and I guarantee Jim had a broad grin (with just a hint of a smirk) when he picked up his WNPA award for "best sportswriting" that year.
Another thing I liked most about working with Jim was that he never, ever sat up in the press box at football games, even if it was 40-degrees and pissing rain sideways, which it usually was. He'd be pacing the sidelines, watching and listening with a bent ear, scribbling notes, squinting, occasionally throwing up his arms at a call he just couldn't believe. You never got a rote, play-by-play account of the game from Jim. You always got a well-tempered story.
I am also truly thankful he also never uttered the dreadfully possessive and supremely insulting words for a photojournalist, "my photographer."
When Jim got in touch with me to shoot some promotional portraits for his first nonfiction crime book, all I needed to know was when and where. These are a few of my favorites.
I had Jim write a quick bio for this:
"Jim Thomsen is a newspaper editor in Bremerton, Wash., who is hoping to transition to becoming an author of nonfiction crime books. Photos from this shoot will adorn his still-under-construction Web site (jimthomsen.com when it's ready) and the back cover of his still-under-construction first book, "Everybody Here Gets Out Alive."