Did you go to art school? If so, where did you study?
I went to The University of the Arts(’02) in Philly for my BFA and Maryland Institute College of Art(’10) in Baltimore for my MFA.
What types of items will you be selling at the bazaar?
Framed/unframed photographs of Philly and Baltimore. I’ll also have a few copies of my self-published book, Old Town, East Baltimore, for sale.
What materials do you work with?For the past 4 years I’ve been shooting primarily with a 4×5 view camera and using Fujichrome Velvia slide film. I scan the chromes and print with high quality Epson printers on various types of archival paper. Most of my earlier work from Philly was shot with a 35mm Pentax K-1000 or my Hasselblad, and some 4×5 as well. I also shot mostly black and white film for my early work and more recently have switched to color.
How are your items made? Describe your process.
For the work I’ve been doing in Baltimore the past few years, photographing entire blocks and streets, light is very important. I’m documenting entire blocks by photographing each building individually or in pairs. I try to photograph buildings during the time the sun sets on them. I find that a combination of good light and the saturated color of the Velvia slide film creates a glimpse or feeling of what the mostly dilapidated buildings were and could be. It portrays a sense of history and potential. I also conduct a lot of research about the history of these places, what they looked like and used to be, why they have declined and been neglected for so long, and what the future holds for them. I plan on combining all of the photography and research in to a book or possible series. I approach this work as though I’m building an archive of city blocks as several companies and photographers did roughly 100 years ago before urban renewal and the decline most cities experienced for the past 50-60 years.
Are you able to make your work full-time? If not, what do you do for your day job?
I work part time at the Maryland Historical Society in the Imaging Services Department where I am responsible for the photography and digitization of items in the collection as well as fulfilling reproduction requests and permissions for patrons.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Camilo Jose Vergara, Harry Callahan, Bruce Davidson, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Ed Ruscha, Edward Burtynsky.
What are you reading/listening to right now?
Not in My Neighborhood, by Antero Pietila.
Spaces of Hope, by David Harvey
I’ve been listening to a lot of MF Doom, Jay Electronica, Madlib, and my usual 90s hip hop collection…
Where would you like to see yourself and your art/craft business in the next 10 years?
Always a tough question, but I’m hoping the work I’m doing now will lead to similar projects and increased press or awareness of what I’m doing and why. I hope to have a steady balance of work and grants coming in to support my work. I’m increasingly interested in topics like urban history and planning and how you bring a devastated city like Baltimore, Philly, or Detroit back to life.
You can meet James & buy his work at this upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar!