James “Chip” Thomas, a native of North Carolina, moved to the Navajo nation in 1987 to work as an Indian Health Services Physician, where he continues to work and live. During this time Chip taught myself black and white photography and works in his homemade darkroom. Two photographers who greatly inspire his work are Eugene Richards and James Nachtwey who he was able to study with in 1992 and 1994.
Chip took a leave from work for one year in 1992 to join four other cyclists in order to be the team Physician for a transcontinental African bicycle expedition. Their adventure took them from Africa’s northernmost point (Bizerte, Tunisia) 12,000 miles to the southernmost point (Cape Aghulas, South Africa). They covered this distance in 9 and 1/2 months and were rewarded with a certificate from Guinness Book of World Records for our efforts. In the Fall of 1998 he returned to east Africa for 3 months.