J.C. inherited his love of taking pictures from his dad, who is an award-winning photographer. ‘He’s one of the reasons I joined the industry,’ says James. ‘I still use some of his old equipment!’
J.C. has a joint degree in English Literature and Typography, and was the only student at his university to graduate with that degree in 2010. He enjoys playing the odd spot of American football – ‘which seems to surprise people!’ – and is a fully-qualified lifeguard. Read on to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’ve worked for various magazines and publications, writing about a wealth of subjects from London history to Parisian fashion in the 1930’s. I’m obsessed with books, art galleries, coffee shops and gin. I make it my daily aim to blend all four.
What are your inspirations?
London is a city full of energy and wonder and I try and capture that through my writing and photography. I’m inspired by the diversity of the people here and by the great history that enshrouds us. There are buildings here older than America! That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. My photographs and stories will easily outlive me and I hope that in some way my work will be looked at long after I’m gone. For me, it’s all about adding to society now, and leaving a legacy in the future. Stories and pictures can shape people’s dreams and change their lives. It’s a responsibility as a creative person to help others realise their creativity exists too.
What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?
I have two: my first is a very recent photograph taken on August 20th 2011. It’s a view of the sunset, taken from a bridge in Hyde Park. I particularly love the lighting here; the way the sky turns from yellow to blue and every shade in between. More than that, the silhouettes of the couples hugging, bathed in this beautiful light in this great city really capture the serenity of the moment. I ended up standing there with my tripod till the very last motes of light fell across the banks of The Serpentine.
My second was taken when I did some press work at Wimbledon this year. It’s a picture of Feliciano Lopez taken during practice. The photo really captures the raw power tennis players have. The definition of the muscles and veins on his arms are testament to the endurance and strength needed to be successful at this demanding sport.
From a writer point of a view, I’m hugely influenced by Niccolo Machiavelli. I particularly live by his quote, ‘Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.’ I rarely let people discover who I really am, and choose to let them make their own conclusions. This helps me mix with all types of people. To quote Kipling, ‘talk with crowds and keep your virtue / walk with Kings nor lose the common touch.’ This is an important skill to have; the print industry is rife with elitism and to be successful you need luck, determination and to make sure you take every advantage you can get.
I also love the work of Robert Doisneau. He captured Paris so beautifully in the 1930’s and his photographs, along with Cartier-Bresson’s, have become part of history. He said that ‘The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street’ and this is absolutely true. When I leave home with my camera every morning, I have no idea what I’ll see, who I’ll meet and where it’ll take me. And, when it comes down to it, that’s what life is all about.
All images © J.C. Andrews. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.