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James Bryant is a Photographer based in London, who’s work includes portraits of both famous and non famous faces, and documenting urban landscapes, and capturing the breathtaking views of the mountains. However, his first love remains snowboarding. Bryant has been the Editor and Photographer of Document snowboarding magazine where, during his time, he shot a veritable who’s-who of the sport.
I first started tinkering with photography as a teenager, which is when I bought my first camera, a Pentax SLR. It was a great camera, and stayed with me a long time. I went on to study photography as a BA at Arts University Bournemouth, which was a humbling experience. The beauty of it is that it opens up so many points of view and different perspectives. It’s incredible how 30 people can be given the same brief, and respond with 30 totally different projects.
Then I got a second-hand Nikon F4, which I found was perfect for sports photography. After that I added an FM2 as a lighter second camera, and then a load of older Nikkor lenses. All the equipment worked so well together, so I just carried on updating the lenses before eventually moving to digital with the D200, D3s and now the D800. The cross compatibility with Nikon’s old lenses and new bodies is such a positive.
My style captures in-between moments. Often when I plan a shoot, there will be a moment just before or after what I’d anticipated, and that will be what really works. Since 2000 snowboarding, mountain sports and the life around them have been a huge part of what I shoot.
I take inspiration from people, stories, and light. Sometimes I will have a really clear idea of what I want to achieve and will use this as a starting point and other times I will just explore through the lens – constantly looking and playing with light and composition.
My heroes are too diverse to list. There are so many. But, most important thing for me is a kind of authenticity; people who wholeheartedly believe in what they are doing and communicating, making images for themselves. To me, it doesn’t matter if somebody likes a natural look, or constructs images in post-production, or who has a very clear and articulate visual style, or somebody who’s aesthetic is quite crude. They’re all different approaches to a kind of storytelling and everything has its place.
I really like the work of Deeli (Tuukka Kaila) who used to shoot for skateboard magazine Kingpin. I loved the 5×4 portraits he shot of Peke in 2007 and his newsprint photobook, ‘Based on Truth’. But really, there are just too many amazing photos to say “I wish I’d taken that on, or this series.”. There’s so many it’s impossible to say. Once it’s been shot it’s difficult to re-imagine in a different way.