JAMES PEARSON-HOWES — Interview
Hello James Pearson-Howes, how are you?
In my cold studio with so many layers on, I must look like the Michelin man, but apart from that very well thank you.
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m a freelance photographer based in east London, not many of those huh? My true love is documentary photography but commercially I shoot portraits and fashion. My final year project in uni back in ’04 (shit, 10 years ago!) was about teenage refugees living in London and my recently completed project is about obscure folk traditions still practiced in Britain so most of my documentary work centers around ideas to do with britishness. I shoot a lot for Inventory Magazine, I cover most of the Europe photo content, I’ve been shooting with them since the start, and really enjoy the creative direction of the magazine and the freedom they give me when shooting. Commercial I’m about to cast and shoot my 4th season world wide ad campaign for Dr Martens, which has been an absolute joy to shoot.
Where does your interest in photography come from?
I was pretty dyslexic so school wasn’t that inspiring, until I did short course in photography when I was 15. I remember the tutor was really inspiring (apart from he had a massive rats tail, which was weird), supporting, and told me I could take a good photo this gave me confidence that I had never had before. Since 15 I knew it was what I wanted to do.
You photographed Jean Touitou, founder of A.P.C., for Inventory Magazine. Can you talk about this series?
We were in Paris for two days to shoot the A.P.C. story. Usually I try and do a little research on who I’m going to shoot, i.e. what there character is like, I like to know what I’m going into so I can be prepared. Jean was cocky but charming, which made him fun to shoot. When you have a cover to shoot you sometimes have to push it a little bit more than normal to make sure you have that killer shot that’s going to make the cover.
Is there a meeting that marked you more than another?
I used to cover lots of grime music back in the day, which always produced some interesting moments. Best shoot has to be Dizzee Rascal back he had just released Boy In Da Corner, we were running around the car park pretending to stab car tires. I’ve never hesitated to take or ask for to take a photo apart from when I went to a prison in Milton Keynes. I was taken to an inmates tiny sell with the prison officer and the inmate was asked to step out side and inside he had every thing placed in pyramids but I felt like I was invading his space and he could do nothing about it, so I never took the shot.
Is there any photographer or artist you appreciate a lot?
Artist wise I love Jeremy Deller, art for the people I’m all about. Photographer wise there are too many, but I guess my faves are Bruce Davidson, Stephen Gill and Andrea Kertesz.
Which books are on your bedside table?
Just bought the brilliant Dalston Anatomy by Lorenzo Vitturi.
The last word…
Thanks for showing love.
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 02.14
Credits : ©James Pearson-Howes.