James English: South Florida Photographer and Artist
When I was a teenager…while dreaming of being an artist...I visited many museums of art and photography including the "George Eastman House" it was then my interest in photography had begun. I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1971 after 5 straight years of intense study, earned a BFA in Photography. At that time "Photography as Art"… along with "Street Photography" was going through many changes evolving into a new uncertain genre…Everyone wanted to be another Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith, Diane Arbus or Robert Frank. I was burned out on photography all together and took a 25 year hiatus and explored other art forms to express myself.
After re-locating to South Florida, I started to get interested in photography again and became a professional photographer…a complete 180 degree turn from RIT. It was in 1996 during my first of many trips to Cuba that I was born again into photography. The street became my muse…my vision from the 1970's of street photography as narrative became my passion.
I explore and see our world with a curious eye… whether doing client work...or on the streets in Cuba, South Florida...or around the next corner. I try to photograph the familiar in new and different ways…not to confuse anyone who is looking at my work… but to see, feel and show slices of our day to day world we would normally overlook or not see at all. Usually we do not need explanations or expect answers with the images we look at because we perceive them with what we think we know. I am not seeking or giving answers…but choosing to keep the mystery within these images and letting the viewer ask questions and wonder with a curiosity of their own. These photographs are short and long term projects…that are a series of sketches from my everyday life... expressing my feelings, ideas, thoughts, and memories…any could be real or fictional. They can be from the past, now, in the moment or yet to be experienced. Some are streams of thoughts or dreams remembered, broken, revealed and to be. Through these narrative and non-narrative sequence of photographs I am thinking out loud... visually... I hope to show and share part of my reality as I feel it… as I see it and live it. A Portuguese poet named Fernando Pessoa explains how I feel it best: "What we see is not made up of what we are seeing, but rather from what we are"