James Whiting is a man of many talents. Photography, journalism, skating and running; there’s a lot that keeps him busy. As a photographer he’s worked extensively in his hometown of Melbourne, documenting the day-to-day with a keen eye that knows how to look a little deeper.
Recently, this work has taken him internationally to projects in L.A, travelling there on four separate occasions in 2017.
We caught up with James to hear his thoughts on travelling as a creative, how that influences what he looks for and where it’s taken him.
James Whiting 是一个多才多艺的人。摄影，写新闻，溜冰和跑步;他的生活很充实。作为一名摄影师，他在家乡墨尔本广泛工作，以敏锐的眼光记录下日常生活，知道如何更深入地观察。
Places been: London, Amsterdam, Paris, South of France, L.A., New York, South Island New Zealand, Sydney
Travel Tip: If you’re lost..ask skateboarders, they’ll know the entire city better than anyone else.
You’re obviously a man of many talents, photography being your main pursuit. Talk me through how that influences your travel.
For me specifically, and probably a lot of other photographers who have the same mindset, I’m definitely not attracted to anything I’ve seen before or anything I can see again a million times on Google Images. I was once asked on a trip “why aren’t you taking pictures?”, and I was like yeah this is cool but I don’t have anything to add to the conversation, there’s nothing I feel I need to add a voice to.
When I’m travelling I’m a lot more interested in trying to find something for myself. Especially when I was shooting for a project I was doing in LA, a lot of it was waking up at 5:30-6:00 in the morning and just walking for the next six hours, taking wrong turns and just following my gut and seeing what happens.
I like your approach to taking a wrong turn and just following your gut and figuring it out that way. Beyond that, are there any networks or services what you would call upon to try and find stuff that’s interesting, different or unique?
A lot of it is word of mouth. Like a lot of people in similar areas or have similar interests I would ask what I have to go to and what I should avoid. And then I’ll also ask local people. Usually from my own interest I would want to go to the photo store or the skate shop, it’s the people that are in those areas that will usually give me something.
I don’t really find much on the old travel apps, because a lot of it’s really dense with corrupted ratings and reviews from people; in terms of, this person said they liked it where another person hated it, and it kind of becomes the endless flogging of people trying to voice every opinion. Find people you trust, or a community of people that you trust and ask them.
You’ve just nailed what Chozun is all about; building those networks and belief that a recommendation is going to be trustworthy.
Hey if you’re looking to hire a brand rep hit me up.
In your travels, has there been a place that you’ve had an immediate affinity for?
That’s a difficult one. In New York I got scarily comfortable really quickly; it was interesting and alluring to me immediately. Landing, setting up and being able to recognise places, it was really easy to slip into the groove. In other ways I definitely have a strange relationship with LA; I don’t really like it, I don’t really hate it, but I find it really interesting and really confusing. Through being interested and confused at the same time you’re all the more engaged with it, just constantly torn between wanting to be here but thinking ‘this really sucks’. It’s just such a diverse insane city.
I think that’s a really interesting point, because we don’t always like the places we go. We often romanticise travel, but sometimes it’s tough. For you, do you think that reality enriches the experience overall?
I think what enriches the experience is finding things that you love by yourself, and not going there to love the things you’re told you’re supposed to love. You’ll figure out your own relationship, and love for a place, on your own terms. I think that in the long run that will be so much more rewarding and fulfilling than just going through a destination on autopilot where you’re kinda like ‘oh I gotta go here and I’ve gotta like it’.
Let’s talk more specifically about some projects that you’ve undertaken recently. Can you tell us more about them or about something that you’re about to undertake?
The main one was travelling back and forth between Melbourne and L.A.; I was back there 4 times over the year. The first time was a family trip, and being a family trip was forced to compromise a little bit. That all kinda started me wanting more of it, because I was limited. And then seeing a lot of things I didn’t expect to see; how the social situations are over there, especially with the political climate. I think it was right before Trump was being inaugurated. There was a lot of tension and unrest through the streets and in how people were acting. Even regardless of Trump, there’s a really strange relationship between Hollywood and what actually exists on the streets. That was interesting and got me thinking a lot about personal distance in the city and how things functions as a result of that tension, and how the political climate was a catalyst for that and pushed it even further.
The second time I ran into a publisher I recognised at an airport and ended up working with him at the L.A. art book fair, which was amazing because I got to meet a bunch of other photographers and artists and publishers, which is an incredible world to be exposed to. I then shot a bit more over there but was pretty thrown by travelling by myself – I was kind of in too much of a shell to make any good work. I came home and thought about it for a while, and flew back later again and started making better work. I definitely found with being more open to people and social situations, and not being as timid, you feel a lot more momentum in what you can achieve for the day.
Building up confidence by speaking to a local and grabbing a drink later makes it easier to speak to people on the street and take their photo and ask their story. It kind of all snowballs from there. Even being a traveller without a camera, having that would be really invaluable.
我第二次去碰到一位出版商，我在机场认出了他，并最终在洛杉矶艺术书展上与他一起工作，这非常令人吃惊，因为我遇到了许多其他摄影师，艺术家和出版商，这是一个令人难以置信的世界。然后我在那边拍摄了更多的作品，但是被我自己的旅行所分心了 – 我太专注旅行以致没有任何好的工作。我回到家中想了一会儿，又飞回来，开始做出更好的工作。我发现，更与社会人文打交道，你会不再那么胆怯，你会感觉到今天你可以获得更多的动力。
What’s the relationship for you between your creative work and travelling for leisure. do you see these as two very distinct things, or do you see them a necessarily entwined?
That’s interesting…I think taking pictures is so ingrained in me now. Say I’m just travelling, I’ll still have a camera and soon enough I’ll just start clicking away thinking ‘oh this makes sense and this looks interesting with that’. But that will be only the tiniest little percentage of my day, the rest will be walking around eating good food and doing whatever else it is that travellers do.
When I was road tripping New Zealand with a friend a while ago, he pointed out to me that it was really strange how when we were walking around I would just go quiet for minute, then walk away and stand around something with my camera, and move around and snap a shot, then just walk away and keep talking as if nothing ever happened.
I guess I couldn’t see creative and leisure as one big unit, nor completely separate. It’s kind of like a two speed gearbox that you just move between when you need to.
To see more of James’ work you can head to his website here, or check out his Instagram, jameswhiting.
想看James 更多的作品，请前往他的网站，或者搜索他的Instagram: jameswhiting