Interview With James Graham
James Graham 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.Multimedia Gallery
James Graham Photo Gallery »
James specializes in portraits and narrative imagery, from fashion to fine art. He is featured in the newly released Taschen book, "The New Erotic Photography" with 81 other groundbreaking photographers.
He is from Raleigh, North Carolina.
He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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.
I love two things: the manipulation of light and the human figure.
And my own fetishes and desires.
I create my own fantasies.
And it changes every single day.
How Others Describe My Work Versus How I See It:
I am often saddles with the ambiguous and entirely relative term of "erotic" which I abhor. What's "erotic" to me may or may not be "erotic" to anyone else, and the latter is often the case. there is certainly an "erotic" element to my work, but one viewer might say that it's because, often, there are nipples or cliteri (did I just make up a word?) in it, while someone else may say it made them tingle.
I don't really care about that. I care about reaching my viewer, yes, but mostly I just care about getting the shit in my head down on film. If I am happy with a photo that I take, I am happy.
I am most happy hearing hat my work affects people - not just that it turns them on. My work is not about turning other people on. And it's not necessarily about turning me on.
It's about satisfying my current creative urges and somehow attempting to give something back to "the muse" should she decide to grace me with her presence.
It's always about what to do next. I'm fairly obsessive, so when I hit on a concept, I burn it into the ground. My "Chairs" series was supposed to be 3, then 13 and ultimately ended up at 20 something.
There's also the concept of marketing one's self. When you concentrate on your vision, it's a set-back to concentrate on your marketing. I don't mean to sound whiny or unappreciative, but it robs you of your creative juices.
Must get beyond that...otherwise, I'm fairly confident and happy with my work.