Photographer James Day has wandered from his comfort zone in favor of elegant black and white portraits in his newest ongoing series, fittingly entitled Old Salt.
“I find shooting personal work very fulfilling creatively and I think it is so important as it really feeds your commercial work and your creative soul. The hardest thing is trying to fit it in around all of the commercial assignments but I really do think it is so important. Shooting personal work is the best way to experiment and try new things that you are unable to do on a commercial assignment. I am fairly sure that it is my personal work that attracts clients in the first place. Creatives really want to get a sense of who you are as a photographer and what you like shooting and personal work is the essential gateway for them to gain a real understanding of who you are as an artist.”
What made you decide to go black & white vs. color?
In the past I used to shoot a lot of B&W and I always loved its look and feel. As time passed I just naturally gravitated more towards colour but recently I had a real yearning to return to monochrome and this series seemed the perfect opportunity to do it.
I noticed one of the models has a few holes from removed piercings around his mouth area, which I thought added such a subtle quality you don’t see every day. Any particular reason for choosing him as a subject? How did you select your models since they have such a distinct look?
The original casting brief for this was for bearded guys but once I had found a few we actually expanded it a little. The agencies had sent us a few other suggestions but this guy actually turned up in the role of the stylists assistant. I thought he had a fantastic look and I really liked the holes in his face where multiple piercings but had removed all of the studs.
How did you decide to do advertising and editorial work over fine art? Is it easy for you to step away from commercial and focus on your own themes?
When I was assisting I always worked for advertising photographers so it seemed like a natural progression. I knew the business and really like responding to a creative brief. As my career developed I realised it would be great to do more editorial work as you got great access to interesting people and situations. I have actually almost completed my first fine art project but that is a story for another day.