Oct 07, 2019
James is a British film director and photographer. In James' images, we can clearly see his cinematographic approach to photography, since he composes his photographs following a script that he has in his mind, and in this way his images are just like movie frames that put together reveal the final story. In his series "America", James is doing precisely that, he is trying to visualise a screenplay about two sisters going to the US looking for their grandmother, that he is currently writing.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
JA - My name is James Alexander and I'm from the North East of England, where it always rains. I studied film at university and since then I have gone on to be a freelance director and photographer. I'm currently in the process of moving to California.
am - How did you start in photography?
JA - I believe I'm a part of the VHS generation. I haven't put the camera down since I was first introduced to one around the age of 12 years old. I became pretty much obsessed with documenting everything. Four years ago now, I organized a trip from LA to New York cross-country, by car. Just me and my cousin and a few cameras, this is where I really found the love for still photography.
am - What is “America” about?
JA - 'America' is my first collection of photographs that I've taken on a combination of 35mm and Medium format film. The series is inspired by a screenplay I'm writing called 'Two Sisters'. The film follows two girls struggling to cope with the recent death of their mother, they decide to leave behind their broken home in search of a distant grandmother now living in a small desert town in California. These photographs have helped me visually put scenes together. Taking inspiration from Wim Wenders' film 'Paris Texas' and Rob Muller's beautiful cinematography. It's seeing America through foreign eyes, like Wim Wenders did, that's something I hope I've managed to capture in my own work.
am - What were your main inspirations for this series?
JA - My biggest inspiration for this series was Wim Wenders' film 'Paris, Texas'. I think that film is deeply ingrained into my psyche. Cinema in general is my biggest inspiration. Being brought up on American Cinema has had a huge impact on the way I see things in the States. I see everything as cinematic and that's hopefully going to shine through in my photography.
am - What are your main interests as an artist?
JA - My main interests as an artist, ok that's a hard question but I'd probably have to say something like 'the human connection'. I'm really interested in relationships and what we call love. I'm currently in the middle of creating a photo book which is a collection of portraits shot on a mixture of 35mm and Medium Format film. The photographs will include a personal story from each character centered about heartbreak and how they moved on with their lives after losing a loved one. My idea is that this book might be able to help someone who is going through something painful. Hearing someone else's story might help.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
JA - Wim Wenders, Robby Muller, Jason Lee, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, David Lynch.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
JA - My favorite movie is 'Paris, Texas'.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
JA - It's hard to pick a favorite photo book but right now it's Jason Lee's 'A Plain View'.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
All images © James Alexander