James Deane Islay Photography Revisited

It's nice to write about someone I admire, in this case James Deane. The fact that James and I never met doesn't make a difference and I'm sure we will meet when I'm over to Islay in May, I know I can't wait. James told me that since his website was launched he had lots of very good feedback from locals as well as from people overseas. In the last weeks James has made some enhancements in his online shopping cart to make things even easier. He is also building a FAQ for his website visitors, to further simplify the ordering process, and he is working on featuring the shipping prices which is always the most difficult thing to organise in an online shop. But most of all James is also expanding his galleries with new images such as the updated gallery Surrounded by Water and Past my Bedtime, a gallery with stunning Islay night photography. As soon as the weather improves on Islay the current galleries will see a lot more images, here's hoping that spring will arrive soon. For the Ileach of 26 February Rachel MacNeill interviewed James Deane, the results of which you can read below:

Rachel MacNeill: "James Deane of Islay House Square launched his new website this week. The address is www.jamesdeanephotography.com I had heard that this was to be a photography website with a difference so on Tuesday I met James to learn more about his new venture. The site was partly conceived of as a place where one can purchase souvenirs of Islay - namely an inexpensive, quality printed photographic image to take home and keep as a reminder of a great holiday... A lot of time has been spent creating something that accurately reflects the quality images he aims to produce. He would like to work with hotels and guest houses on the island in offering this service to their guests as often when people are here only for a few days the weather may not be conducive to photography. Perhaps folk would prefer a considered image demonstrating the beauty of the landscape they have seen, rather than a hurriedly taken personal snap? Continue reading...

He is determined people will be happy with the photographs they purchase from him, checking every detail of the size and type of print required for a particular image. James also wants the website to be a place where he can share images with people who live here. He would like to work with people in Islay and Jura, helping in any way he can to promote their businesses and projects. He aims to inspire and says: ‘It’s a great feeling to have your work in the public arena and receive a positive response to what you’ve done.’ He enjoys the medium of photography because anyone has access to it, it’s not elitist. He is entirely self-taught, learning from simply getting out there and doing it. He didn’t even own a good camera until a couple of years ago.

The Distinctive Carraig Fhada Lighthouse near Port Ellen. From the gallery Surrounded by Water

Since coming to Islay last year with his partner Vanessa and her daughter, (Armelie who is aged 7), his photography has flourished. The natural beauty of the Islay landscapes have inspired him. He has fun creating something, capturing something new. He tries different perspectives, takes photos at night. He makes himself go out there and keep at it, even when it’s cold and he feels like staying in beside the fire. Sometimes he’s practical, going out when the sun is setting. Other times it’s about his family, and the photograph comes from their day out together.

He takes thousands of photos and spends hours at his laptop sorting through them, finding just the right one to tell a story, record a moment in time, and all the images on the website have a ‘short story’ caption. He enjoys his ‘weather’ photographs the best because they capture an ethereal, transient moment. I asked if he preferred to work in black and white or colour? “Both” - he replied saying that sometimes the image comes off the camera and informs itself. He stresses that it’s important not to be constrained by rules because then the unexpected can happen. James told me he is inspired and influenced by other photographic talents on Islay, but that he hopes his new website will serve to demonstrate a unique take on the landscapes and life here. He reckons his definitive photograph so far has to be the shot of a Hen Harrier that won the Islay Natural History Trust photography competition. This photograph changed his life! It made him realise other people liked his work, and perhaps he could make a living from doing this thing he enjoys so much. He also won a BBC Scotland photography competition. James will hold an exhibition of his work in the autumn. Venue and details to be confirmed. Contact www.jamesdeanephotography.com or visit his Facebook page on www.facebook.com/jamesdeanephoto."

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