From Photoshop to Photography
James Maher found photography after using Photoshop for a project whilst studying Math and Computer science. Realising the enjoyment he got from this program encouraged him to go out an buy a camera. A small Canon compact. Not only did he enjoy making photographs whilst on the university campus, the use of this camera came in to good stead when he was at home on his holidays. One year he decided to offer his services to a professional photographer in New York to be the general 'Gofer" - 'the go-get guy' for the coffees, the sandwiches, sweeping the floors and getting the lenses. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
When looking at James' website its clear to see that his preferred genre is street photography. Yet he shows with his work that it is one of observance. Not just street photography with the human involvement but one that encompasses everything that is happening on the street. The Architecture, the abstracts, the juxtapositions and the study of light and shadow. On leaving University, James set up his photography business by offering workshops for small groups for 2-3 hours for walkabouts in New York. Using his home knowledge of New York where he has lived all his life, James encompasses his walkabout tutorials with a historical tour of his home city and adds the knowledge of photography, be that to the students with a DSLR, a compact or even an iPhone!
From the Canon compact James moved swiftly onto the Canon 10D with a couple of zoom lenses and then to the Canon 5d MKII with prime lenses, those being 28 and 35mm. In addition to that camera he also owns the Fuji X100s (which is fast becoming a street photographers main tool) He doesn't have a problem using a large DSLR on the street though, as this is what he has always done, but the Fuji has certainly opened his street photography work as it is so inconspicuous.
His camera setup is, as he prefers large depth of field, working with f11 or f16 to work with shutter priority. Thats the first time this set up has been said in my show. It's not wrong its just the way James prefer's to set his camera up after all it doesn't matter what set up you use be it aperture, manual or shutter priority the same effect can be achieved. You can see evidence of the depth of field when you study his detailed website and its evident as well to note that James works in colour as well as mono - he has no real preference for that.
His favourite photographers Matt Weber an ex-taxi driver of 70 and 80's who took up photography after seeing such crazy things happening on the streets of New York; Bruce Davidson for his 'gritty work' from the 70's and 80's, Lee Freidlander and Gary Winnogrand and also William Egglestone with his unique observations.
His inspirations were when he was young his favourite Basketball players from the "Nicks" as they practiced so hard on the ball skills, James practices with his camera - a good tip for any would be photographer. That was then now its his wife who inspires him immensely because of or hard working attitude.
It was great talking to James who had kindly slotted my show, Photography Live and Uncut in between two workshops on, as it turned out, the coldest day of the year, so far.
Thank you so much for your time James. And all the best with The Arcanum...
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