Thursday, 29 April 2010

Jim Gamblin - 'Elements from our World'

All it took was the glimpse of a photograph of a racing car in a magazine at the age of 12 to start Jim Gamblin along the road into the photographic world. Later, to further his pursuit of the art of photography and techniques of the trade he attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California.

Jim started as a commercial photographer’s assistant and ventured out into the world. He learnt the tricks of the trade whilst working on a diversity of assignments. One in particular, he remembers, meant he had to light a mud wrestling competition. But his preference lay with the big studio shoots with their party atmosphere, cast of thousands and cutthroat hustle and bustle, reminiscent of the 1960’s film ‘Blow Up’, by Michelangelo Antonioni.

After a time Jim began to combine working in lighting for two independent photographers as well as becoming a location scout assistant. Contact with one of the photographers led him into the world of commercials. This appealed to the film buff in him, as an advertisement can also be compared to a scene out of a film, very often requiring as much preparation and a budget to match.

Work as a location scout took off and this meant he was often given carte blanche to find and photograph potential locations for a film. In this way he was able to produce his own photographic work, whilst at the same time looking for an appropriate film location. Becoming an invaluable part of a film’s production, his involvement also meant that on set he was able to learn from some of the best names in cinematography of the time.

In his work, Jim tries to capture all the elements of an image in one shot, hoping at the same time to evoke emotion and inspire others, ‘or just to stop and see the beauty of the elements from our world’. As an artist, Jim believes firmly that one should always be open to change and be ready and willing to learn new things in order to progress. A vocation is a constant challenge and does not have a finish line. Just like the priest he saw who signed his completed paintings at the bottom with ‘Priest in training’.

Years later in 2003, having traded the west coast of The States for The Netherlands, to be with his Dutch partner, Kea (who is now his wife), Jim found himself in the near vicinity of Zandvoort. Kea, upon hearing that Zandvoort was the place where the inspirational photo had been taken of Jim Clark (by photographer Henry Manney), that he had seen all those years ago in the photographic book, immediately turned the car around and headed off in the direction of Zandvoort, thereby bringing Jim full circle after all these years back to his beginnings.

For the future Jim is interested in branching out into portraiture as well as creating photographic film-like stills for graphic work such as brochures. Should you be interested in contacting him or seeing more examples of his photography his website can be found at: Jim Gamblin 

© Alison Day

First published in the Connections magazine #14 Winter 2006 

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