James Garfield is a professional photographer from Ipswich, UK, specializing in fashion and portraiture. Despite James’ increasingly hectic schedule we were delighted when he agreed to complete a full feature interview with us so that we could share his interests, experiences and portfolio with you. Read the entire Spotlight Interview below to find out about who has inspired James, what makes a good photographer in his opinion and what motivates him to do what he does.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
Mainly through a major and unexpected change in career circumstances, one door and closed and another has slowly opened and is developing into something more.
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
I really love photographing fashion & portraiture. Every model is different and as trends constantly change so does the fashionscape keeping it fresh and new.
Q: How has the last 12 months been for you?
The last 12 months have been a bit of a voyage, I’m still pretty new to the scene so it’s been about cultivating relationships and networking and shooting as much as possible. It’s had its ups and of course it’s downs but overall I feel I’m going in the right direction.
Q: Who inspires you?
Interesting question, lots of people for different reasons but picking one from my list of many it would be Steve Jobs RIP because he said this: “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” That says it all for me.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
Designers well where do you start, Jean Paul Gautier, Giorgio Armani, and Vivienne Westwood amongst many others.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
I think it’s one that follows through and develops their style to its full potential and does not seek to emulate what has already been done. It’s all too easy to conform to current trends but new ground is only broken when people push their boundaries.
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
I haven’t used film for years so it’s digital only. I often think about getting a film camera really just to experiment with but I think it’s one of those things I just won’t get around too.
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
I really enjoy both, shooting in a studio is great as it’s a much more controlled environment but can be a bit sterile whereas shooting on location with the changing light and different scenery can be very rewarding.
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
I think my style is still developing and I hope that continues throughout my career otherwise my work would stagnate and become predictable. I think having some fluidity in your style & approach is important.
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
I have many; I wouldn’t be able to pick just one because they are all quite different in composition and style but one of them is the underwater image of Muhammad Ali of by Flip Schulke. It is incredible and I never tire of looking at it.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
Again I can’t pick one but Perou, Rankin, Melissa Rodwell, Zack Arias to name but a few are some of my modern day hero’s, turning back the clock well Flip Schulke, David Bailey and Patrick Lichfield for the iconic images from the 60’s & 70’s.
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
Well behind the camera any of the above really, well those that are living, I think a few days with them would be a great experience. In front of the camera, well where do I start? Yasmin Lebon who’s still amazing, Analeigh Tipton, Keira Knightley, Angelina Jolie, how long have you got?
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is the celebration of emotion without the use of words or music, is that too contrived? Many would say it’s a frivolous pursuit but it has an influence on us that we can’t measure.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
My personal fashion style? Well it depends, on a shoot it’s something functional with lots of pockets. On an evening out depending where I’m planning on going it can range from the classic jeans & T with jacket to maybe something more formal.
Q: Where are you based?
I am based near Ipswich in the UK, not too far from London.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
It’s nice to be in the country but also a little dreary at times and as it’s not the center of the fashion universe it makes it that little bit harder to network and meet people.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I’d like to find myself zipping around the world shooting for different clients. I love travel, have no ties and want to have a life less ordinary.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Sometimes I’ll chill in front of the TV with a film and a few beers or maybe go out for a beer. I also do a lot of sport and going for a run is a great way to unwind.
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
New York New York! It’s hard not to get caught up in the buzz of the city and the iconic cityscape. I’ve been twice and plan to live & work there at some point in my career.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
I like all sorts currently its Duran Duran’s latest album (does that make sound me old)? I have such a varied taste from Metallica to Claude Challe but 80’s music is my favourite.
Q: Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Well sport is my hobby, I do a lot of running, cycling and snowboarding when I get chance to get away. It’s as good for the mind as it is for the body.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Don’t be tempted into spending huge amounts of money on equipment when you are starting out, buy secondhand or the cheaper models in the range if you buy new. Cameras and lenses are just the tools of the trade; you have to make them work for you, you have to be the artist. Learn about light, composition and Photoshop. Most importantly stick with it.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
It’s the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I get “the” shot. You’re now probably thinking I’m nuts but I’ve never experienced that in any other types of work that I’ve done.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
YES! I’m great to work with and really worth booking! You can contact me through any of the links provided. I’d also just like to give a mention and a thanks to the models & MUA who feature in the images I have used for this interview:
Victoria Peachey, Goldy Loxx, Stepanie Taylor Moule, Jill Liebisch + Sadie Bareham MUA , Greg Fernando, Charlotte Leitch.
Editor’s Note: James Garfield captures passion, sensuality and style in his shots to create something that has personality but also commercial appeal.
If you’ like to learn more about or contact James Garfield just follow the links below:
twitter link: https://twitter.com/#!/Jgarfieldphoto
web page link: http://www.jamesgarfield.co.uk