Creative Spotlight | James Gray

Published on 14 December 2020

Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make

My name is James Gray, I’m a photographer mostly interested in landscapes and portraiture. I have a full-time job as a software developer which keeps the bills paid and I have a background in industrial design which introduced me to digital imaging.

My interest in photography started with my father’s darkroom under the house. I love the magic of film development but these days I work almost exclusively with digital images, the flexibility provided is invaluable when producing a body of work.

I find myself drawn towards minimalism and the details in the landscapes, looking for colour, tone and form. My portrait work is mostly in the studio but invariably with strobe lighting, I love manipulating the light to bring out mood and expression in my subjects.


What is a creative project that you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of? Why?
My first solo exhibition was in September. It came on the back of a very challenging year that saw me unable to do what I’d planned, but in the end  provided unexpected direction and new opportunities to explore. 

Whereabouts do you look for creative ideas? Who or what inspires you?
I spend a good deal of time in the bushland around Sydney, cycling or camping with my family or the local Scout troop. This gives me the time to sit and absorb the moods of the landscape around me. I’m a big believer in the maxim of “the slower you go, the more you see” and spending days in one environment allows me to see it in many different ways. 


What’s your favourite part of working as an artist / creative?
The feedback, hearing what people see and feel in my images. The best kind of feedback is when someone buys one of my prints, it’s a humbling experience.

What creative project are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a couple of ideas to create narratives through portraiture. This isnew ground for me and requires working to build the story in the studio rather than piecing it together from observations in nature.

We always love recommendations! Who are some other local artists we should check out?
Melony Smirniotis, talented artist, gallery owner, and great source of inspiration for myself and many other artists.


What’s the most challenging part of working as an artist / creative? 
Finding my worth. Photography has changed so drastically in the past 10 to 15 years. Almost everyone carries a camera in their pocket that allows them to instantly publish worldwide. Creating works of value to others in this environment is challenging.

Do you have any top tips for emerging artists and creatives just starting out?
Practice. Whenever you can. The best camera is the one you have with you. Even if you are using your phone you are still creating an image with colour, composition and a story.

Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?

Facebook: @jcgrayphotography


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