James Grant – Guest Lecture

James A. Grant
Freelance fashion photographer.

James started his further education down the A Level route where he studied photography mostly staging his images. He also did an Art foundation and used the camera as a tool to make paintings from it because he still wanted to be a painter. His background is in analog film but learnt digital in Camboida.


He came to a point where he realised there are so many of us (photographers) and we have to fight and go and get it.

James holds a BA in Fine Art Photography at Southampton but originally from jersey. Spending a year in the UK, his interest started in cityscapes, being lonely in his work, documenting spaces made him feel lonely. During his last year of his BA, he wanted to photograph people again and stop feeling lonely.

Random coincidence, met a photographer who needed an assistant.


James approached magazines, ‘ill shot for free and I deserve it’. 

‘It’s important that the first few jobs especially in the UK you must work for free.’

you’ve got to be confident.’ In order to turn it into a profession that you want to do.


After trip to cambodia, he wanted to do fashion photography. Not knowing much about the history in fashion, he pursued an MA in fashion in London.

One of his first body’s of work: Epic and Everyday – 108 girls in 3 hours.


He also embarked on a of street photography. Five minutes walk up and down his street recording them, following them ‘following fashion’ and got featured.

Undirected portraits on the street, taken there picture, then convinced them to photograph them in there house.

‘Pushing portrait’ taken after the directed portrait in there house.


James E-mailed photographers in magazines he liked in order to gain work experience.

Inevitably by the 2/3 shoot with them, they are either going to pay you or not ask you again.

He said that he slowly got paid and went full time assisting, along the way learning how to understand production.

For fashion photography, he mentions that ‘you have to put on a show. You have to understand how it works.’

“The way to get noticed is to stick to what you do and what you make, then allowing people to employ you for you.. instead of trying to please everyone.” – James

I think this is an important point he has made. Instead of pleasing everyone, specialise in a subject, horn it and make it yours. Make it so that nobody is better than you within that specific genre/subject choice I/anyone chooses.

Face to face contact after an email.

‘big fan of your work, love to come and meet you and consider the fact of extra hands’.

‘to be lucky… is to be proactive.’

He says the real work is getting the shoots, contacting potential clients and constantly trying to shoot for bigger clients. Overall, his talk was hugely inspiring and has increased my attitude to my work ethic.

Quotes I got from him in the lecture.

‘Photography is a relationship… sometimes shell give back to you sometimes you hate it.’

‘You can’t be too emotional to it, you will be stepped on, you will lose money, bad things will happen… but you have to force these lucky moments.’

‘9/10 it will pay off.’

‘Formulate you’re own luck… and the rewards are worth it.’

‘Relentlessly every week, chase people up.’






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