James M. Olson, a Fargo native, was raised in south Fargo and attended public and parochial schools. He enrolled in North Dakota State University in 1965. In 1967 he entered the North Dakota Air National Guard where he eventually worked in the photograph laboratory until retiring in 1987.
Upon returning to Fargo in 1968 he continued his education at NDSU and worked as a student in the photo lab of the Extension Service until graduating in 1970. He opened JMO Productions in 1970 and after several years changed the name to JMO Photography. Beginning in film processing and slide productions, the business evolved into all facets of commercial and portrait photography, along with custom black & white processing and virtually all types of copy work.
Jim Olson is married to Jean Bladow from Hankinson, N.D., and they have two children, Brent and Bryan.