Friday, January 15, 2010

James M. Graham Photographer Of "Some Of This Is True" Book and Insightful Interview

This week I would like to take a look back at the favorite posts during the last six months of Fabulous Finds Gal's inception. I so appreciate if you have been following along and still come to visit . I have grown as a blogger through these past months and I have a way to go. But, I am so grateful for the new comers that may not have been here the whole way as I have grown, but motivate me to keep typing and sharing. You all are incredibly inspirational to me and really make it all worthwhile.

I am going to share my favorites and the posts that got the most commentary. Sometimes these are the same and sometimes not. I grow quite fond of anyone that would give me time for an interview, so let's start with the fabulously talented James Graham with some of my favorite photos and my most fun interviewer that speaks it how it dang is... Well, that's James for you. This man tells it how it is.

James Graham specializes in portraits and narrative imagery in fashion, fine art and erotica. He works in both film and digital. James has spent 20 years as a filmmaker, at various times producing, writing, directing and shooting. He has worked on a variety of projects ranging from a Guns 'n' Roses video to the 2004 Natori Lingerie Campaign. He was a nominee for Black & White Spider Awards for the category of professional fashion photography. His work has been published internationally, including in the Taschen book, "The New Erotic Photography".

His Artistic Aesthetic:
I like darkness. I like contrast and I like juxtaposition.

By darkness, I mean the full definition of the word: low light, shadow, but also something sinister. Something unsafe. Something unexpected.

Contrast, I mean in the photographic sense: sharp whites and blacks.

Juxtaposition, I think of as a means to take contrast into the emotional. Something here is not quite "right" is my preferred working style.

My work comes from my 30 year study of motion pictures. Intense study - like, I seek out who the cinematographer of my favorite David Lynch film is (Freddie Francis). I went to NYU in order to be a cinematographer and came out the other end a Producer.

How do you decide when to use color versus B&W?

If I decide to shoot color there is an aesthetic reason- a hue I want, the color temperature of the light, a piece of clothing, lipstick, hair... and when I shoot color I always shoot black and white too. Not as a back-up, really, but as a way to see the same thing the color sees differently.

What does color do or reflect in the shot versus B&W?

It's a different mood. It triggers different emotions. It looks like real life, but not really.

Can you share with us how you get the models "eyes" to be so present in each shot?

When asked what my work is about, I always say "the subject's eyes". They are what I am drawn to when I look through the lens. They're what I automatically want to bring into focus. It's a cliche', but there is something to that "windows to the soul" adage. Then there's also the connection between the model and photographer. Many times while I am lighting a subject I will ask them to look right at me. This is practical (I set the light to kick off of their eyes) and directorial (by looking right back at them I try to give them something to hold on to- trust, calm, a certain seriousness-something). What the subject does with that something is what makes the photograph "them".

Do you choose a model or location differently for a color shot versus a B&W?

Not normally, but I suppose it depends. On everything...

James has a book being launched shortly called "Some of This is True". The compilation of photographs in the book are surprisingly half nudes standing on chairs and the other half are sad playboy bunnys. Strange juxtaposition? No, not really. See a few sad and sexy bunnys below. They are fascinating, sexy, expressive and dark. The sharpness and contrast of the black and white is his signature. He also makes women standing on chairs look amazing from such a unexpected and unique position. Standing on chairs? Who would have thought that would be sexy or even vaguely interesting? James did...

A few questions regarding your upcoming book, "Some of This is True".
When is it being launched and where to purchase?

It is coming out this Fall on Luxxus Press, a small fine art imprint here in NYC. It will be available in a limited edition hardback edition as well as in softcover. It will be available online at and in several photography bookstores here in New York.

How did you come up with the sad playboy bunny concept?

I was struck with the fondness that that particular era and lifestyle are remembered in. You know, oh, the good old days. The good old days where women were treated like sh.., taken advantage of and made to serve. It was just a simple thought about the irony of that.

How on earth did you come up with nude ladies standing on chairs?

I don't really know. I was shooting a plus-size model and asked her to stand on top of an old wooden toolbox with wheels on it. I mainly wanted to push her limits. So that shot was interesting. Then I was shooting another model and asked her to stand on a chair, but shot her from the waist down. Then I was shooting a porn star and asked her to stand on a chair-again, don't know why, but obviously something was cooking in my head. After seeing that shot, I sat down and made a list of rules for the series, and went to work. I've heard some interesting interpretations of it from different people

How did you decide on the cover picture out of all available?

There are actually two covers as it is a "flip over" book- one series to each side. My editor/publisher suggested both shots and I agreed wholeheartedly. He's got an amazing eye.

Interesting title for your book... What about the book is "true" for you?

Naming your work is the hardest thing in the world to me. I suggested all these random titles that in retrospect were completely and utterly terrible. Most of them sounded like Morrissey reject song titles! Laughably bad. My editor/publisher surprised me with this title when we went through the first test pressing. As soon as I read it, I loved it. He said that at a previous meeting I had said something like that and he remembered it. So, technically it can be attributed to me, but really, it was all him. What about the book is "true" for me? I created all the photographs.

What Inspires you?

I think my biggest inspiration is to create. That and to leave some evidence of me in the world. I would like to be appreciated by an audience and perhaps inspire someone else, but mostly it's an inner drive to create.

You can view his complete portfolio on his
website. His stylish and thought provoking blog is worth a look, as well. You can view my previous post regarding some of his amazing black and white editorial fashion photography here. James is available for commercial, editorial, fashion, and portrait assignments. He grew up in North Carolina, but resides in Brooklyn, New York.

I can't help but love his honesty, passion for being creative and his work. The eyes...oh... the eyes. I am lucky enough to have my website with James's photography (you can't see me, but I'm pinching myself) . I feel like one lucky fabulous finds gal.

What do you think of his work or what does it conjure up for you?


janettaylor said...

Great interwiew! Black & white photo is fantastic!

Have a great weekend Honey!


Couture Carrie said...

Gorgeous post and pics; insightful interview, darling! I love how his passion is creation...


Renee said...

I know absolutely nothing about fashion. I love the interview and loved the fashion.

Renee xoxo

vicki archer said...

Fab interview, I loved reading about B&W - my favourite images, xv.

Dustjacket Attic said...

What an interesting interview, love the pictures too.


CC said...

The pictures are amazing!
I love the vintage vibe to your blog.


Julie said...

Love the photographs and lovely interview too.

Keith said...

Great interview and photos. Thanks for sharing this with us. Hope you've had a fantastic weekend. Cheers!

kirstyb said...

that first pic is great x

magicnina said...

Really nice post! I liked it so much and thank you for your lovely comment:)

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

these are great 'moody' pictures - love the artistic nature of each one!

Kellie Collis said...

Love the beautiful black and white shots! Stunning x

Duchess of Tea said...

Intersting post, I love the photos!! Darling I hope you had a lovely weekend. I just stopped by to wish you a sunny day!!

♥ hugs ♥


T. said...

What an interesting blog, glad you posted before me in rollcall today so I had the chance to come check it out. Have a great week!
Fellow SITSta,

Kristin said...

Fabulous interview. His work is very interesting. The pictures have me intrigued about what the subjects are thinking about.

TIFFANY thegirlwithafeather said...

One photo can say so much! They are really unique. Looks like a really interesting book. Great interview!
Oh with the photos I had to print screan (prt sc) them, then cut them out and paste them. Really tideous, but worth it

Nic said...

so fabulous.

amazing pictures.


Relyn said...

What gorgeous images you've found. And a wonderful, intriguing interview.

FabBlab said...

Very insightful interview and brilliant pictures!

MizzJ said...

Cool interview! My fav pic is the first one, but I like how moody and introspective they are. A smart sexy they seem rather than just overt.

{ L } said...

Wow, his photography is exquisite! The contrast and lighting give such a deep effect to each picture.