Winning a first-place blue ribbon with the first photo he ever took as a kid, Jim McNeilly has come a long way in his photography career.
Following that first prize, Jim pursued his dream, trying to do photo assignments for Grand Ledge High School’s yearbook. However, all the slots were filled so he considered his options and approached the Independent Newspapers group, and he was hired.
He developed, edited and printed photographs for the newspaper including sports, special interests and news events. In his junior year, he photographed his first wedding which occurred on the Island in Grand Ledge. At this point, he was asked to join the yearbook staff and later became President of the Photo Club.
After Jim’s senior year in high school, he was awarded a full ride Photography Scholarship at Lansing Community College where he obtained a degree in commercial/portrait photography. He continued his work with community newspapers for over tens years as photographer and darkroom technician.
For the last 30+ years, Jim has owned and operated McNeilly Photography Studio in downtown Grand Ledge. A past member of the Michigan Triangle of Professional Photographers Association, he has received over 20 photography ribbons throughout his career.
His creative interests have inspired many projects including building photographic equipment, restoring cars, scratch building sailboats and rotary wing aircraft. He is a private pilot and is currently building two more aircraft from blueprints. He continues to run a state-of-the-art studio and darkroom. It now includes printing on canvas which is used for producing the artwork sold at Ledge Craft Lane. He has also made puzzles of his remarkable photos and sells these as well.
Jim lives in Grand Ledge with his wife Susan and their two sons.