featured artist

James Hayman

James Profile Pic

I’ve always been a visual storyteller, interested in other people’s stories. When I first picked up a camera, I believed being a photographer meant staying hidden behind the camera, solely as an observer. As I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve since realized that it doesn't need to end there, it can be so much more. Photography is an interactive experience, an exchange between listener and storyteller. My photography aims to document these moments of exchange and is deeply rooted in the world communities I find myself drawn toward. And while these photographs might capture such specific moments, I also believe they transcend time and place. They negotiate between the ephemera of the moment and the timeless nature of the photograph. No matter where I might be, or who I might be speaking with, the construction of narrative is what ultimately leads to a lasting image: a totality of human experience suspended within a single frame.

What do you see in your work that others don’t?
What I see in an image that hopefully others will not is the amount of work taken to create the image. In other words, what went on behind the curtain, or literally behind the camera. Rather than noticing any of the process, I hope the viewer sees only the immediate emotional purity of the image, allowing them to respond to the captured moment not only cerebrally but emotionally. To connect them to the subject directly without filters.
How did you develop your creative skill?
I like to think I’ve developed my skills through years of repetition. I do believe I am wired with an innate ability to see moments that will resonate if captured and frozen. But the process necessary to actually capture those moments—both mechanical, as in f/stops, composition, shadow versus light, and interpersonally, as in capturing a subject surreptitiously or engaging in a dialogue to produce a different moment—all of this requires practice. Similar to playing a musical instrument, operating a camera and interacting with subjects requires constant repetition and practice to achieve one's goals.
How has your style changed overtime?
When I first started working in the arena of street photography, I thought it important to be invisible, to disappear into the shadows and capture moments surreptitiously. This worked for quite a long time as I traveled the world photographing. Then, about 8 years ago, I moved to New Orleans to produce a television show. What I found is that there is a certain openness in the American South: people like to talk and interact. I found myself engaging directly with my subjects and this produced a very different set of captured moments, in which the photographer and subject are actually having a visual dialogue. I think of this process as “two-way street photography.” And then as I re-visited my archives, I realized that in fact I have been using both approaches for quite a long time. Making that decision in the midst of a moment keeps me present and in touch with the world around me and defines my interpretation of that moment.
What's the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn't learn from your work alone?
Most interesting is a hard question. Of interest would be the importance of making art with a purpose, and placing family above all else. Also my love of music, art, culture, and laughter. I tell a pretty good joke.
What aspects of your work do you find the most fulfilling?
When I succeed in making what I’ve called “art with purpose.” This process involves making people see various socio-economic inequalities but not stopping there. It requires getting those people to address those situations, to work at making the world a better place. That gives my work meaning.
New Orleans New Orleans
Prune Pune, Maharashtra, India, 2012
Meherabad Meherabad,Ahmednagar,India,2012
New Orleans New Orleans
Bufrano Garcia Bufrano Garcia, Zipolete, Mexico, 1976
Peru Peru
San Fransisco El Alto San Fransisco El Alto, Guatemala, 1976
Prayer Prayer, Paris, 2022
Kenai Kenai, Quartzsite, AZ, 2020
Fafa Fafa, Port Au Prince,Haiti,1987
New Orleans New Orleans
New Orleans New Orleans
Angel Tat Angel Tat, Los Angeles, 2022
Venice Beach Venice Beach, Los Angeles, 2022
Poet Poet, Hangzhou,China,1988
Mountain Stop Mountain Stop, Mexico, 1976
Barber Post Barber post-Earthquake, Guatemala, 1976