Hands up who hates having their photo taken? I get it, not many people do. Even in this day of selfies on tap, it takes a fair few to get one that will ‘do.’ I don’t take selfies. Well, not on a smartphone. I take portraits, and I’m damn good at them. What do I love about taking portraits? I love people. I love photography. I’ve always worked with people and they inspire me in so many different ways. I love getting to know people in order to represent them honestly in images.

A true portrait should form a connection between viewer and subject, it must tell them something about the person – a sneak peek into their soul, an insight to what they’re like and maybe even how you might get along with them. I love to create portraits that you stare at, trying to know the person more by looking for longer. I tend to shoot in a candid style, making the viewer a fly on the wall watching someone and knowing the subject a little before you meet them. These are the images in which I find people recognise themselves the most, which helps them love the photos! Even out-takes can be some of the favourites. Waiting for tender moments between two people and being ready for them is a skill in itself and I love it when people forget that I’m even there – that’s when the real magic happens.I have the kind of nature that makes people relax, laugh and even enjoy the session – I can even almost promise it will be fun!

I’ve been taking photos for as long as I remember. Before that, it was Dad who took the photos. I won’t say he was over the moon that I’d decided to follow his footsteps, but always supported my 100%. He’s been my biggest fan, tutor and hype guy the whole time.

Studying on film in 2001/2002, quality and perfection were solid non-negotiables. Even though I shoot entirely digitally these days, I wouldn’t change a thing about how I learnt photography. I loved processing film by hand, the sound of the clicks as it successfullly loaded onto the spool and the scent of the developing chemicals is still very vivid. Triple J playing on a crackly radio in the red-lit basement laundry of Dad’s house, exposing paper in the enlarger then watching pictures appear on paper as I rocked them gently in the of tray developer liquid. It was time spent not alone but with my pictures. Dad up and sold the darkroom setup when I was living in Paris, but if I’m honest I probably wouldn’t touch it these days.

I can’t wait to see who’s next in my studio or on location somewhere.

Chef James Henry

Pip and Coop Interior Stylists

RSL Victoria’s MUFTI magazine June 2018 (Pages 16 & 47)