City of Cranes

Over the last year I have gotten so used to having a camera of some description with me, my phone, a compact or a dSLR.

I had a fault with a compact camera that I previously blogged about and that has now been resolved. I will probably tell you all about that but that its for another time.

City of Cranes is a short play written by PJ – Beetley Pete. I am not writing about the play but have included the link for you to read if you so wish. Its very realistic so I would recommend it.

I’m in possession of my Canon S100 after it being repaired and happened to be on the roof of John Lewis. I was only on one side of the building but it was noticeable how many cranes there were in the skyline.

It reminded me a little of Pete’s play script and naturally was a good opportunity to take some images.

The good thing about the S100 is that its small enough to carry all the time and delivers good quality images. For me, it allows me to practice composition and to get quick images of places I’d like to return to.

Everyone knows the importance of compositional rules but something that only really struck home the other evening at a talk hosted by Photo London was intent.

Intent in composition is something that lecturer Paul Kemp keeps mentioning. I understood what he was saying but it didn’t really strike me until the Photo London talk where photographer Simon Roberts had work on display. Maybe it was the scale of the images or just very skilled composition that made the intent clear, I don’t know?! What I do now know is that I have a clear visual reference of intent in composition.

Roberts formed part of the panel which included Matt Flowers and was chaired by Zelda Cheatle.

As a photographer I got a lot out of the talk and will definitely attend others.

I started to get distracted there but that little fill in about the talk was as relevant as the talk to the images I am about to show and the reason I am chuffed to have my little S100 camera back. (Even if it does make me look like a tourist (Sara Roberts). Sara is a freelance graphic designer that has been really helpful in nudging/prompting me in the right direction to set up a website.

Onto the photos………





Do follow the links above & feel free to comment on the images.

Please also click here for my Canon Showcase and the link below to be taken to my website in progress (“Google analytics gold” PDK: Nov 2015)

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

(Jim Jimmy James Photography)



Just two photos

These two photographs of the same scene were taken while in Berlin. I love Berlin. The place and the people remind me of London and New York City.

That sometimes gets some odd looks until I explain that Berlin is much like my London of the 80’s and it has a familiar feel about it; from the slightly run down areas, redevelopment, music scene and so on………

Anyway, the photos.

They are early attempts at night photography and although technically I would execute the capture differently today… Exposure would be different, focusing would be different and I’m sure the composition might be different; I still like them both.

Maybe when I head back to Berlin I will take these images again although it would be unlikely to have a car parked at the same spot and therefore the story would be very different.

Although I would have done things differently, as I said, I still really like these two images. Mostly because of the mood they create rather than anything else. Personally I have problems picking a favourite between the two; they both have their own weak points but more importantly, their own strengths.

It makes me wonder how photographers ever manage to pick an exhibition set?



So, I hope you like the images.

As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

The genre of ‘Still life’

Okay so I bang on a little about photographic genres but there is a reason for that.

Along with very generic skills & photography knowledge, each genre has its own unique techniques. Yeah Yeah I’ve said that before and you already know that!

However, this is something I like to explore as it makes me a better generalist photographer. I’m not sure if ‘generalist photographer’ is a particularly flattering or accepted term but what I mean by this is that it gives me the ability to cross genres, be more adaptable, flexible and pragmatic in my approach to capturing the image I want to achieve.

So without too much waffle, here are a couple of still life images:

Old bottles rescued from The River Thames.

Old bottles rescued from The River Thames.

You might be wondering what it was exactly that challenged me here…..Its a couple of old bottles that I pointed a camera at and took a photo.

I think that is how many lay people see photography.

I had to select the bottles I wanted to use.

Decide on the background.

Decide how I wanted to position the bottles.

Arrange & measure my lighting to work with the depth of field that I wanted.

Ensure the light was sufficient enough not to make the white paper look too grey, yet ensure that the light was not so strong to cause blown out highlights on the glass. While ensuring the exposure was sufficient to show the age and colour of the bottles.

Do I want any shadows or not?

What should I do in regards to composition? Focal length, point of view and so on….

Bottles rescued from The River Thames.

Bottles rescued from The River Thames.

Other than the obvious change in position, are there any other more subtle differences that your eye detects in my set up?

Something I learned recently is that people don’t necessarily consider the thought process and decisions undertaken for what is essentially a really simple looking image.

I hope you can find something in these images that you like, whether that is the age, decay or focal point…..

I do also have a few questions for you:

Do you like the softness or do you think you’d prefer the images to be sharper?

Would your preference be to have the images more clinical with a clean bright white background?

There is no right or wrong answer.

Here it is just about opinion, but your opinion counts.


Because it informs me of a general consensus of what people like.

Its not going to stop me shooting things the way I want to shoot when it comes to personal projects but constructive critique helps photographers grow.

Although I would like open comments, if you are a photographer look at the images and even if you don’t comment on the post or ping me a personal message, break down what you can see.

Who ever you are, wherever you are, thank you kindly for stopping and having a look at my photos. I hope you’ll have a look at some other posts and revisit some time.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Skipping class

In some professions illness and injury are just a hazard of the job.

For the first time in my 40+ years of life, I have caught the ‘dreaded lurgy’. Not man-flu or man-bola, I have won the battle of those harsh illness’ on a handful of occasions but this time its a chest infection; leaving me short of breath, pyrexic, lethargic and coughing up nasty thick green phlegm.

I’m not a sickly person but this time I have just had to go with it and give in. Two different lots of antibiotics and various over the counter medications with plenty of rest and use of my very rock ‘n’roll hot water bottle (it has a faux fur cover).

This also means that I have not been taking photos for a couple of weeks and this will be the second week I will show up at class without completing the homework assignments.

To be honest I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself and didn’t want to go in last week, nor do I want to go in this week. Problem is, the course feels very much more geared towards the commercial side of the industry and I already have a sense that I can not afford to skip any classes.

I still have a bronchial cough and feel fatigued but there is no more yucky stuff being expelled. I believe my infectious period is over so if I go into class I am confident I’m not going to be passing The Dreaded Lurgy onto my class mates.

Although I have been stuck indoors I have done some work towards planning my next two projects, purchased a .com domain name and had a little practice at some retouching images on photoshop.

Portraiture is going to be one of my topics and one of the genres I have started to really enjoy.

Sometime ago I was thinking about buying a mannequin so I can practice different lighting and really start to nail certain looks and moods.

Why a mannequin? Anyone that takes photos and has needed to practice portraiture will know that friends and family only have so much patience; mannequins don’t fidget, need to run to the loo, want a cigarette break and don’t give that ‘I’m bored now’ look. ;)

Using a mannequin would also give me freedom to take my time or break up the day with a stroll to the shops or to pop out for lunch. Something I might need to give more thought to. In the mean time here are a couple of mannequins from a trip to Barcelona earlier in the year.

Its possible I may have posted them before because they are so much more fun than what we tend to see in the UK. However, I have done some minor retouching as I think post capture processing is going to carry more importance this year.



The retouching was very quick and intended to just familiarise myself with the functions rather than being a finished product.

Thanks for looking.

Jim Jimmy James


Over exposed!

This is intentionally over exposed but how would you know that if I didn’t tell you?
If I didn’t tell you, would you think it was a badly taken photo?
Now you know it, do you still think its a badly taken photo?IMG_0158

This image is Viv The Spiv who I met at a vintage fare whilst on a project.

As part of the project I took a more widely acceptable exposed image. Once I had ‘the safe’ image it was time to play.

Here I have been able to produce an image pretty much as I had anticipated.

I’m not the first person to play with different exposures and I am pretty sure I will not be the last.
I think its important to experiment and learn from experimenting.

Every now and then, every photographer should step outside of the norm…

its fun!

I’d like to thank viv the spiv for agreeing to be photographed. Please take a look at his website: Viv The Spiv

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James


I made a submission to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Competition to be exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery.

The images were portraits from my City and Guilds submissions but printed on higher quality paper and delivered directly from the printers that I used.

Note that I said to be exhibited and not to win a reasonable some of money.

I had hoped that I would have at least had one image short listed to be shown and yes there is always the smallest of chances that someone might see a piece of work and commission a further project.

I got knocked back……… I am very disappointed. I’m pulling a very disappointed face as I type.

Non the less, the people that I collected the image from were complementary of my efforts. Hmmm, maybe they were just being nice because I’m fairly certain I was pulling a very disappointed face as I collected my photographs from the depths of South London.

Actually I went there two days on the bounce. I work near to where they were stored and popped in to see how they were packaged and I had to return the following day with appropriate packaging, that as it turned out wasn’t large enough!

The staff were great, friendly and helpful.

So I’m looking forward to seeing the final selection that make the exhibition and shall try to keep an open mind.

After all my efforts and stressing about edits, where to print, what size and on and on and on…….

…..In keeping with my usual train of thoughts, typing ‘on and on and on’ reminded me of The Ariston Advert. That is completely unrelated to anything I intend to document here. However, there it is!

So, yes. After all my efforts I might just as well have printed and entered one of these snap shots taken on my phone…..

Ladies and Gents may I introduce Adam.



Just incase you are wondering about his name, when his cheeks are puffed out he looks like someone I work with.

Sooooooooo what next?


I have a couple of projects I want to do and I have signed up for the next level in City & Guilds. I have a sneaky feeling this level is going to be a tad more demanding and with recent changes to my shift patterns at work my entries here may become a little more add-hoc, but hopefully you will still find something of interest.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Busy but still plugging away.

It feels like ages since I last posted anything.

I’ve not gone away, I have just been busy with those life things (like work) that get in the way of us doing the things we want to do.

I have also been loosely planning a 50/50 project. 50 images on a 50mm lens in 50 days. I’d like to give this a go but need to have a few ideas in my head and maybe even a note book. Otherwise I will just be taking random shots and not learning from the challenge.

I have also been helping an artist with a long term project of theirs. They studied at St Martins and is still moving forward with a long term project with particular links through differing themes.

This time in the style of ‘film noir’. He had seen my work and asked me to take part.

I am not in a position to show any shots that might make the final selection but I can show you a couple of images taken on location while checking exposures and looking at the background environments.


This is a man made beach in Brent Cross. Situated along the A406, near the M1 and A41. It has a huge shopping centre and the local environment is fairly industrial looking. Not wanting the surrounding area to spoil the aesthetic of the images was a really good exercise in composition.


This image does not tie in with the overall feel and theme of what was being shot on the day but does link in with my previous noir images. I took the opportunity to make this image while the next shoot was being set up.

I’m normally pretty critical of my own work but I actually really like this photograph.

I think the position the image was taken in, the simplicity, contrast of the main subject against the sand and cleanness of the shadow give it a movie still feel that I like a lot.

However, for me the key element is the tension I feel as a viewer. As the photographer this surprises me but I look at the image and find myself asking what is going on just out of the frame.

This feels like one of my most rewarding photographs I have taken. So based on that, for once I am not going to ask for any critique from you.

I have also visited a couple of exhibitions and popped into a handful of shops.

Tailor Mark Powell has some great portraits on his wall at the moment. They were taken from a photographer local to The Soho area of London.

I have also visited Getty Images and been to The National Portrait Gallery to see Audrey Hepburn portraits of an icon. 

So I haven’t been far. Just busy but still plugging away.

Thanks for visiting.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James