James Price joined The Learning Connexion in 2021, completing a Certificate in Creativity (Level 4). Since then his photography skills have flourished – he is now producing stunning images of the New Zealand countryside. We had a chat with the Whanganui-based photographer, who studies at TLC via distance delivery.
Hi James. Let’s get to know you – how would you describe yourself as an artist?
I love our rural community and agriculture and am pursuing my career in documentary photography with a focus on agriculture in Aotearoa and abroad.
I was the kid running around wanting to try everything and at 51 I am no different. It’s truly exciting to get to photograph anything and everything, and I change my website and branding a bit like I change my clothes, so it’s incredibly freeing to be able to try new things and realise it’s all progression in your craft.
You've faced some challenges with hearing loss – can you tell us a bit about that?
I started having hearing issues in 2020 and it has had a big impact on my life, personally, and professionally. The hearing issues started with random periods of hearing loss that were mild and short. But these have got more severe and longer, until now when I can’t rely on my hearing. It has changed how I work and interact with family and friends, but it's also had a different impact on my photography. I don’t just think about what I see anymore, I also think about what I would hear. Clouds take on a sense of thunder, so softness in my photos would be the sound of the wind.
That's really fascinating. Where else do you draw inspiration from?
Everything is inspiration. World events, the empty paddocks down the road, music, the shadows of trees. I love looking at what other artists are doing and achieving, and how they change the landscape of art.
Do you have a project you are currently working on?
Yes, I am in the initial stages of planning a series of portraits, but not your usual portraits, I like art and photography that makes you think, good or bad. It's thought-provoking.
Why did you decide to enrol at The Learning Connexion, and was it a good decision?
I had seen some of the work coming out of students who studied with TLC, and I wanted to be one of them. One of the best decisions of my life. It’s changed my photography, and it's changed the work I do in web design and social media management.
Given your hearing loss, did you find TLC to be a supportive environment?
My Programme Mentor Leigh has been amazing – so patient and supportive. TLC have a great support team and I have always felt I could contact them if needed. The team in general at TLC are supportive and through Covid were amazing.
The TLC alumni are inspiring. Seeing the work produced by current and past students, you feel inspired when you think that they were once where you are.
How have you transformed during your time at TLC?
I can quite honestly say that my study with TLC has changed my life. From being more open-minded about creativity to new abilities to problem solve using creative processes.
My biggest wow moment was when I looked at photographs I took during Level 4, and then looking at my photographs at the end of Level 5 and realising just how much I had grown and how my skills had developed. Day and night really.
Has this new approach to creativity been transferable into other areas of your life?
Creative thinking isn’t just about art, it has its influence on problem-solving and many other parts of my life. I think I listen, watch, and read, all with an even more open mind. You can’t allow yourself to think creatively and it not have a positive impact on your life.
What advice would you give people starting out at TLC and wanting to pursue a creative pathway?
Don’t give up! Don’t let doubt influence you, know your worth and keep going! If it makes you nervous to push boundaries, enjoy the feeling and trust you are growing because of it.
What are your creative ambitions? Where would you like to be in five years?
In five years I hope to have completed my Level 7 Advanced Diploma, and that I will be a successful photographer.
View more of James' work at his website, on Facebook or Instagram
Looking to upskill in your own area of creativity? Enrol today at The Learning Connexion - study onsite or from home.
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