Friday, June 15, 2007
James Brown - The English Beat
With a fresh style, a young professional's obsession for creating high-fashion images is getting noticed
Adds Brown, "I tend to have the image in my head, but I like the spontaneity that everyone has. I like to have models who know what they're doing, but I like the fact that each shoot, whether it's a person or a company, is going to have a different outcome. If I see a model, I usually know as soon as I meet her if I'm going to be able to get what I want; if not, then I like the challenge, sometimes getting an even better result than I first anticipated. That's the fun part! My best friend always says, 'You are your situation.'"
Brown's ability to adapt easily to his environment makes it easy for him to transition between a studio setting and locations. “I love the studio,” he says. “It's my playground. But location has something special about it. It does take ages to organize a location shoot, but the results can be outstanding. I try to have everything I need on location, so it almost becomes a mobile studio. I love the fact of having the option and I feel comfortable shooting either.”
This type of versatility carries over to his equipment as well. Brown switches regularly between medium format, film and digital. “I use all sorts of cameras,” he says, “from 4x5 to the Mamiya RZ67 to the Canon [EOS] 5D—anything I can get my hands on. Jon Gray, who trained me, uses all the above equipment, so I got used to working with them on a daily basis.”
Adds Brown, “I was lucky enough to be trained on film. This gave me an understanding that if you don't get it right the first time, there's little you can do to correct the image. It was a fast learning curve—you mess up, there's no going back. While I shoot digital, I don't often look at the screen. I know if I've got everything correct before I start, but it's a godsend.”
Brown is a firm believer in capturing his images in the camera without much touchup. He relies on his creative lighting and bold composition to speak for itself.
“I've always been taught to have the image you want before any postproduction,” says Brown. “I use Photoshop to enhance what's already there and not rebuild the shoot from scratch. Some photographers also use digital and get away with murder as they overwork the images, making them look totally different to what the original was. That's not my style.”
Through his technical know-how and creative spontaneity, James Brown has been able to create his own look and has arrived on the scene with a freshness that's resonating with designers and magazine art directors. He has tackled the nearly impenetrable world of the elite fashion society and made his own mark. Of course, in Brown's eyes, his career has just begun. From album covers to music videos and Hollywood stars, he has his sights set on much more than the cover of a fashion magazine.
“I've been all over the world and have been on some amazing shoots,” reflects Brown. “My passion has turned to obsession, so I have to keep going to fulfill my desires. I always look forward to the next shoot, but once it has been shot, I'm ready for the next!”
To see more of James Brown's photography, visit www.jamesbrownphotography.com.
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