Capturing moments through a lens
Photographer James French, 24, admits that he has always been visually orientated.
“As long as I can remember. I would tend to flick through books, magazines and articles losing myself in the imagery.
“I took photography as one of my A-Levels at Hazelwick School in Crawley, and my dad has always surrounded himself with cameras which I think filtered into me subconsciously.
“From there I was hooked, a lot of people at the time, I think, saw it as a way to get out of choosing the more academic subjects but it was more personal for me. I love capturing moments that are often overlooked or missed, photography is such a creative and durable medium that literally lasts forever.”
Instead of pursuing the typical university route he joined Crawley-based Young Star-up Talent as an apprentice.
“It wasn’t until a while later that I was able to incorporate my film and photography into part of the business producing a lot of their video content for a variety of different events.
“I have spent the last few years working in London. I have been lucky enough to work on shows such as The Last Leg, The Graham Norton Show, Good Morning Britain at the London Studios for ITV as a runner. I’m currently working as a technical assistant within an ITV owned kit room but try to get as much photography in where I can.”
What is the favourite photograph you’ve taken?
“It was taken at the Goodwood Revival a few years ago, it’s a really special event which I’ve been attending with my family ever since I can remember.
“Everyone takes part to create a feeling of what motorsport was like years past which makes for some lasting moments and traps you in this film like quality.
“I particularly like walking through the paddocks with the hustle and bustle of the mechanics prepping the cars, the drivers chatting and just a general buzz that feels like I’ve had about three coffees.
“This image resonates with me in particular because it’s not staged, it could be a photo of the era.
“I spotted this incredible blue single seater Alfa parked in front of a textured metal shed when a couple walked over to the car and I remember quickly kneeling down to seize my opportunity.
“What you can’t see is just out of frame are masses of people walking up to have a look but are just out of frame.”
What camera do you use?
“I currently use a Canon 5D MKiii. I trialled the camera, loved it and it was just a huge step up from what I was used to.
“I’m taking my photography seriously nowadays and I needed something to support that, it’s technical capabilities are fantastic and the camera includes a Full Frame sensor which is fantastic.
“Recently I have also been going back to basics and learning how to develop and print using traditional 35mm film.
“Film is one of those things that seems really difficult to get to grips with but it leaves you with a great sense of satisfaction when it all comes together.
“It has taught me a lot as well, the trouble with digital is that you can keep shooting for ever. With film you have a set number that you have to work with which slows you down and makes you think more about the shot, you can see some of my results on my Instagram @Jamesfrench95”
How would you describe your style?
“Unusual, candid, experimental, documentary and narrative.”
What would be your dream job to photograph?
“Motorsport is such a big part of my life so I would probably have to say one of the historic motoring events such as the Mille Miglia, Le Mans Classic or have access to photograph a F1 race.
“Just to be surrounded by so much history and passion from the people who are in attendance would be really special. I’m attracted to the archive imagery of motorsport through the eras, seeing a pit crew re-fueling at Brooklands or a mechanic with a shirt and tie working on a car.
“They are so evocative, I would have loved to have been a part of it back then so why can’t I bring my contribution now. I feel like a young person in an old person’s body, that or I was born in the wrong era.”
Where do you see your career going?
“I would love to work professionally within the motorsport and lifestyle sector.
“Working with a company such as Goodwood, covering events, working alongside a magazine or anything along those lines is the goal.
“I am always on the look out for new exciting opportunities or to collaborate with other people, please get in touch via my website www.j-french.co.uk”