James L. Neihouse, ASC

2016 Distinguished Alumni J Neihouse head shot

Growing up in Paris (Logan County), Neihouse graduated from Paris High School in the spring of 1973. He attended the University of Central Arkansas prior to beginning his photography education at the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif.

In 1976, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Brooks, becoming one of the school’s youngest graduates.

Marine Photographic Associates (MPA), a Santa Barbara based production company, hired Neihouse immediately after his graduation. While at MPA he was responsible for many aspects of film and multimedia productions. It was this association with MPA that led to his introduction to the IMAX format.

IMAX founder and president, Graeme Ferguson, hired MPA to shoot the first IMAX underwater film. This association led to more projects in the medium. In May 1980, Neihouse became one of the first to fly into the newly created crater of Mount St. Helens while filming an IMAX documentary. The film, “The Eruption of Mount St. Helens,” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Documentary. It was Neihouse’s first credit as director of photography.

In 1985, Neihouse moved to Cocoa, Fla., and married Leslie Vock. He continued his IMAX career while also working on local productions.J Niehouse Nascar crane

In 1988, as NASA was preparing to return to flight after the Challenger accident, Neihouse was hired by IMAX Space Technology Inc. to train shuttle astronauts in the operation of IMAX cameras in space. Neihouse was also responsible for overseeing IMAX hardware integration into the NASA Space Shuttle, Russian MIR space station and Soyuz spaceflight systems, as well as the International Space Station.

Neihouse has been recognized by NASA for his work. In all, he has trained more than 125 astronauts on 23 shuttle flights and seven space station expeditions in the operation of the IMAX camera systems.

Neihouse has also received two Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography awards and the Kodak Vision Award for Space Station 3D in 2003. He was recently invited to become a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), an honorary society of the world’s best cinematographers.