David James was born raised and educated in the UK. He knew from the age of nine that he wanted to be a photographer. Action, Sci-Fi, War, and Musicals are his favorite movie genres. With a simple google search, you will find he is associated with many award-winning movies. Jesus Christ Superstar, A Fish Called Wanda, Schindler's List, The Last Samurai, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Batman Begins, Top Gun, Star Wars, Mission Impossible, and the endless list goes on. He is a regular Taschen collaborator.
Is shooting on movie sets as fun as it looks?
Yes, but it is also very demanding. You have to be on alert and on your toes at all times and you have to have a plan, it’s not all about shooting on set. You have to think about advertising shots, shots for use on social media, prop shots, merchandising, etc.
What is the biggest challenge in being a stills photographer?
Getting THE shot that sells the movie and being able to recognize that shot beforehand, getting a good relationship with the Cast and the crew, you have to be an artist a politician and also the invisible man (woman).
Which photographers or artists influenced you during your whole career?
Cartier Bresson, Richard Avedon, Robert Capa, there were others who had great influence (still are).
Do you have a favorite picture? If yes, which is it?
So many favorites images, probably some from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and from ‘Schindlers List’.
You are walking down the street and stop to take a photo. What makes you stop?
You walk down a street and while you are walking you are looking, maybe you see a shadow on a wall or an autumn leaf in a rainy gutter……never just walk down a street, look at the street and what gives it it’s own personality. For Instagram, I set up a hashtag named artiseverywhereyoulook.
During the filming of The Man Who Fell to Earth, are there any unforgettable memories that you would like to share?
Being there in New Mexico at that time when Albuquerque was almost a one-horse town. Building a relationship with Bowie and working with Nic Roeg. Film shoots then were much more intimate, smaller crew and the film being made by people who loved to make films not run by Accountants.
What is next for you?
I have signed a non-disclosure agreement, so, sorry, can’t answer that one except to say…it’s going to be awesome. In the meantime, some home life and some golf…little fly fishing if I can fit it in.
Any words that you would like to share with us?
It’s not about shooting pictures.. it is about having the ability to open your eyes and see.
You can see David James's work at his most recent publication Taschen David Bowie The Man Who Fell to Earth.