Local Artist Series // James Parry
Who are you and what do you create?
I'm James Parry and I’m from a little town called Sennen Cove in Cornwall, UK, but I’m currently residing on the Sunshine Coast. I’m a professional surfer and also a photographer.
I love shooting travel landscapes, people, and surfing. I bought my first camera 15 years ago and took it on a trip to Vancouver Island. I didn’t have a clue about photography so it was a steep learning curve working out a digital camera and all the manual settings.
What materials and techniques do you use?
I really like shooting film. I have always had a film camera in my bag but I seem to always pull out my digital camera instead. I use Canon and I’m currently shooting on the 1dX. My film camera is the Canon eos 1V. It was the last of the professional film cameras to be released before they went digital. Film is special but it can get very expensive. You can’t beat that feeling of getting film back and not knowing what came out.
What kind of inspirations go into your work?
I have always been a huge fan of LeRoy Grannis, John Witzig and Jeff Divine. They came from such a cool era, capturing such special unique milestones in history. The way they tell a story in their photos. I also love and look up to photographers like Grant Ellis, Jean-Paul Van Swae, and Todd Glaser. They have really helped me out over the years when I was starting to push my work. Seeing the way they approach, using backdrops, light, travel really inspires me. Going off the beaten track away from people and amongst nature really gives me inspiration also. I love the feeling of being so small and fragile amongst ever changing weather, mountains and vast landscapes.
In what space do you like to create most?
I feel I do my best work whilst I’m surrounded by culture and having a lot of vibrant colour on location. I love a colourful foreground and shooting through crowds. I’m big on walking and moving constantly when I’m shooting so I don’t use a tripod much.
What has been your favourite or most important work to date?
As a huge surf fan, my most favourite photo is of Koa Rothman in Hawaii, pulling off the back of a wave at Backdoor where the spray from the wave is creating a mystical ghostly figure. My good friend Jimmy Newitt was the art director of one of the biggest and longest serving magazines (Surfer Mag) in California. To have a photo published in surfer mag is a big deal. I had this photo and I was obsessed by it, so I sent it in and fortunately Jimmy really liked the shot. A couple of the editors weren’t sure but in the end it got published and I got such a great response from it. It was a massive confidence boost for me.