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Photographer Focus: James Young

Photographer Focus: James Young

Interview by Angela RoseRed

James Young is an Arizona-based artist who specializes in street and skate photography. His mediums vary from old skool analog film to modern day digital techniques. Shredding on a board for over 15 years, he naturally immersed himself in opportunities that require him to catch those major “skate or die” moments. Whether Young is taking still shots of a unique object on the streets of Phoenix or documenting someone with all four wheels in the air at night, his ability to capture the decisive moment is nothing short of radness.

How did you spiral into the world of photography?

I say I really got into photography a few years back when i got sober i wanted a way to chill with all my friends and keep the mind busy while at a bar or something so i brought a camera along and started shooting my weird ass friends.

How long have you been snapping photos?

I’ve been taking photos for a little over four years now.

What are your favorite subjects to photograph and why?

My favorite subjects to shoot is shadows and skateboarding. I love the line work shadows make and just walking around trying to find them there always different. With skate photos it’s all about getting the perfect moment you can half a second off and that photo is just not going to turn out right.

Do you have any major influences?

I love looking at the work of people like William Eggleston, Spike Jonze and Boogie Ed Templeton.

Favorite artistic mediums:

My film camera for sure, but sadly its broke at the moment.

List off what photography formats, gear and editing techniques used to create your work?

I use a Minolta x700 mainly for my street/shadow work and a Nikon d7100 for my skate photos and Photoshop for all the editing.

Favorite spots to shoot at:

I like walking around downtown Phoenix.

Who are your favorite skaters to photograph?

Just my homies cuz theres no pressure its all fun with them.

Regardless if its day or night, you kill it at capturing the decisive moment in your skateboarding images. How do you document such fast action shots?

If its night it’s all about the flashes you need those baby’s to freeze the motion.

Your street photography has a strong graphic element to it. Do you go out and chase the image or does the image find you?

I would say 50/50 I have to chase the light till an image just pops up.

If you could photograph any person or place past through the present who would it be?

I would be down to get a portrait session going with Albert Einstein.

If your artwork could be a fictional character, who would it be?

Spy vs spy not sure why haha maybe it’s the black and white.

What bands occupy your earholes most frequently?

All over the place with music I go from Otis Redding to Post Malone to Hank Williams III. I feel like it’s everywhere.

Choose your weapon: Vinyl, Cassette, CD or Digital?

Vinyl for days.

Do you have any projects coming up or in the works?

Nah not right now, but I would like to get something going so if anybody wants to collab hit me up. Haha!

Social Media/Website/Contact Info:

jamesyoungphotos on Instagram

Is your work for sale? Are you free for commission work?

If anyone wants to buy anything I’m always down to sell or trade print for print. Yes, I’m free for some commission work.

Some have claimed photography is a skill, not an art form. What is your stance on that dumbassery theory?I believe photography is an art form for days you can have a 100  people shoot the same subject and every person will get a different photograph out of it and that’s their own personal art.