Benjamin: James, from discovering an old Pentax camera in your father’s room to now establishing a significant online presence, your journey has been remarkable. Can you tell us a bit about your roots in photography and how they’ve shaped your current style?
James: Certainly. My introduction to photography began serendipitously, with me finding my father’s old Pentax camera and then observing him develop his own prints. This hobby of his became the spark for my passion. The magic of seeing an image appear from nowhere was captivating, especially in black & white. It became an embodiment of capturing a fleeting moment in time.
Benjamin: You’ve had extensive formal education in photography, both in the UK and USA. How did your time at university shape your skills, especially your specialisation in black & white printing?
James: My years at university, especially during the exchange to New York at the Rochester Institute of Technology, exposed me to the classic way of printing and processing. Techniques like gum bichromate and cyanotypes, coupled with early video methodologies, gave me a diverse skill set. I fell in love with Kodak film and Agfa warm-tone fibre papers, which played a pivotal role in honing my black & white printing expertise.
Benjamin: It’s fascinating that even with your significant focus on traditional methods, you embraced the “digital darkroom”. How has the shift to digital tools like Photoshop impacted your work?
James: Embracing the digital darkroom, particularly Photoshop, allowed me to replicate the essence of traditional film and paper stock. The versatility and precision offered by these tools opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Although I’m passionate about analogue photography, I believe in merging the best of both worlds to create masterpieces.
Benjamin: Speaking of masterpieces, you’ve been recognised for your unique editorial style and your knack for capturing intimate moments. What’s the secret behind this?
James: It’s about understanding the narrative. My background in fashion photography in Europe and the UK has been instrumental. I’ve always aimed to capture seemingly intimate moments in a polished and aspirational way. My grasp of concepts and design has allowed me to conceptualise and create images that resonate with Art Directors and Editors alike.
Benjamin: From photography to a brief stint as a Creative Director in new media and now as a DOP, your journey has been versatile. How have these roles complemented each other?
James: Each role has added layers to my understanding of the visual medium. As a Creative Director in new media, I delved into interface design, which helped me grasp what agencies sought. Transitioning to a DOP has been a natural progression, complementing my foundation in photography. Every experience has augmented my ability to deliver impactful content.
Benjamin: Your aspirations now lie in celebrity photography and luxury brand shoots. What drives this focus?
James: I believe in evolution. Shooting for luxury brands and celebrities presents a unique challenge—it’s about capturing the essence of luxury, class, and timeless elegance. I’m particularly drawn to black & white shoots and envision myself working on productions akin to Dolce & Gabbana’s iconic shoots. Collaborating with top-tier stylists and producing high-value content is where I see myself excelling.
Benjamin: You’ve mentioned Peter Lindbergh, Vincent Peters, and others as inspirations. How do they influence your work?
James: Their strong identity, especially in black & white, both in studio and on-location, is truly inspirational. Lindbergh’s style and opportunities resonate with where I envision myself. The depth, emotion, and narrative they bring to their work is what I aim to infuse in mine.
Benjamin: Lastly, James, your online presence, especially with your website and your photographer’s blog “SilverGumType”, is gaining traction. How do you plan to leverage this moving forward?
James: The digital world offers immense potential. Through “SilverGumType”, I aim to share my insights with budding photographers and offer online monochrome courses to those keen on honing their skills in black & white photography. Leveraging my online presence, especially with my search ranking as a “Fashion Photographer”, is crucial. I’m focusing on updating my YouTube channel to create more awareness about my work and journey.
Interview conducted by Benjamin Hardwick Follow James Nader on his various social media feeds to keep updated with his latest works and insights.
- Official Website: James Nader – Fashion Photographer UK
- Official Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jamesnader
- Official YouTube https://www.youtube.com/jamesnader
- LinkedIn Profile: James Nader: Mastering Visual Storytelling for 20 Years
To gain a deeper understanding of James’ contributions to the photography industry, you can also check out an article recognizing him as one of the Top 15 Fashion Photographers in London.
Please follow these links and platforms to stay informed about James Nader’s evolving portfolio, insights, and creative ventures.
- jamesnader.com – FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER UK JAMES NADER
- scouty.com – Top 15 Fashion Photographers London
- linkedin.com – ‘James Nader: Mastering Visual Storytelling for 20 Years