12 Jun James Popsys Interview
How did you become a photographer? – I’m not the sort of person who was born with a camera in their hand. In fact I only began really enjoying photography a few years back. I’ve always loved tech but only needed a camera when I went travelling around the world for 4 months. I started to really appreciate photography on that trip, but taking photos felt more like documenting than creating. So I began looking for ways to be more creative with it, which has led me to the work I create today.
What inspires your work in the creative field? – I guess I’m just up for a challenge, and trying to create stuff that will stick around. Working through the iterations of ideas, compiling the parts of a photo, location spotting, editing, then having the guts to share something, it’s all tough, but if the work you do is well perceived then it’s worth it. We live at a time where making use of creativity and showing it to the world has never been easier. There are no gatekeepers any more, nobody at an art gallery gets to decide if your work is good enough to be shared, the internet decides that now, so you don’t have to conform and try to replicate what people have liked in the past, you can do you own thing in the knowledge that real people will get to judge it.
What is the reason behind why you chose to add meaning to your photos through editing them? – To be honest I got bored of pressing a shutter and that being the end of the creative process. Photography is in many ways the least impressive art form. Since cameras are getting better all the time you only really need to master some basic techniques to take great photos now. More photos are produced now than ever before so if you want to be heard, you need to be different. If you have a vision, there are thousands of tutorials on YouTube that will help you show it.
“A pen and paper won’t write a book for you, and a paintbrush won’t paint a masterpiece by itself.”
How would you best describe your style of photography? – I guess I look for juxtapositions and humour. Laughing is my favourite reaction to an image, so that’s what I aim to achieve. Apps like Instagram are full of photos of stuff that really doesn’t interest me; I want to make photos about stuff.
Is there a person you look up to? – Erik Johansson is my favourite photographer. His ideas are great but the way he executes them is incredible – I’d recommend that you go check him out.
If you are not taking photos what are you doing? – I’m a big sports fan, but I try to limit the amount of time I spend watching stuff. I’m at my happiest when I’m thinking of ideas for photos, and I’ve never had any ideas sat in my living room, so I try to get out whenever I can.
What is the picture or thing you are most proud of? – It’s probably a picture called Fishing for trains. There are lots of things I would change about the edit if I did it again now, but I think it’s probably the most original idea I’ve ever had and been able to execute. I’ve got lots more in the pipeline though.
Where do you feel most in your creative element? – I’m happy to say its London, which is convenient as this is where I live. There is so much variety in the people, buildings and the weather that it’s incredibly easy to be creative here as you can constantly surround yourself with new things.
Is there anything different that you want to do in the future? – I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to lots of great places, but I went to a lot of them before I got into photography. Heading back to Mexico and Vietnam to create some stuff is up there, as is shooting New Zealand from a chopper. I wouldn’t mind teaching my techniques either. But I’ve got lots of ideas for concepts to keep me busy for a long time yet.
What advice would you tell your 18-year-old self if you had the chance and why? – I’d tell myself lots of stuff, but mainly that there are three things likely to cut down your dreams. Impatience, aiming for perfection and self-doubt. If you keep making little steps forward you’ll get to where you want to go eventually.
What is your current favourite TV show or film? – Entourage.
Who is your current favourite musician? – Check out Soulection on Soundcloud.
What is your favourite book? – 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.
Interview By Conor Rees.
All photographs used in this article are with permission from James Popsys.
You can find out more about James Popsys and follow what he is up to from the following links: