WHO IS REUBEN JAMES?
This weeks blog is for those of you who haven't read my BIO, and for my new subscribers who may or may not know a lot about me. As someone who's trying to build a brand I think it's incredibly important for people to know who I am and where I come from - what makes me, me. Being half Māori (through my beautiful māmā) knowing where you come from is an integral part of what makes you who you are and for those not familiar with the Māori culture, it's customary to acknowledge the people and places you descend from when introducing yourself - mountains and all. So to briefly translate the text (also known as a pepeha) in the picture below; my name is Reuben James and I descend from the people of Ngāti Pahauwera - where the peak of Maungaharuru can be seen from both the Mohaka river and the sea at Tangitu.
Before I delve any further it needs to be noted that I'm a wedding filmmaker and when I'm not doing that I absolutely adore making short films about people who inspire me. The narrative of those stories is captured by way of interview and I use the answers (with visuals) to tell their story. So, in order for you to get to know me, I'm flipping the script and answering those questions for you. Enjoy.
Who am I?
First & foremost, I'm a dad to a freakishly beautiful 6 year old boy called Luca, and a freakishly wild (and just as beautiful) 3 year old girl named Daisy - both of whom have there pros & cons. I could lie and say it was all me when it comes to their crazy good looks, but, that title undoubtably belongs to my stunning wife, Amy who works part-time, runs 2 businesses, and still finds time to mother the 3 of us! Kudos to Amy.
I'm also a son (funny that) and a brother, and the photo below is a rare moment captured of the lot of us. I'm the last on the left - dressed to impress. I'm a student, but, haven't graduated. I'm proud to say I followed in my father's footsteps and learned to shear - a job that showed me how to work, and immersed me into cultures all around the world. I'm a film-maker; amateur furniture maker; surfer (though not much these days); skater; and last but not least, passionate OCEAN PHOTOGRAPHER.
What's your photography back story?
I started shooting the ocean in mid 2014, after buying a 2nd hand water housing from my good friend Stuart Johnson - who's also an ocean photographer and a huge inspiration/mentor. After my initial attempts (which actually produced some images that I’m still proud of today - see below) shooting in the water, I went back to living my life (work) and nothing eventuated for a few months. It wasn’t until I purchased the GoPro that my passion started to fire as it was a bit more manageable to use whilst swimming in the ocean. Furthermore, the more ocean photographers I started following on Instagram, the more I began to realise that the ocean as a subject was something I could shoot for the next 100 years and the photos would still vary EVERY-TIME - I love that.
What is Ocean Photography to me?
I kinda feel like Surf Photography is what I was born to do. It's a chance for me to be creative and express myself artistically through a subject that’s forever changing. With so many variables to change the look of the ocean and waves at any given time, it's amazing how you can shoot the same beach day after day and still come away with totally different shots. It's one of those rare things (as cheesy and cliche as it sounds) that makes time stand still and when everything aligns, it is when I feel most alive. Its also something that gets me out of bed early - something I’d prefer not to do.
Whats my favourite thing about Ocean Photography?
Other than perfect glassy waves at either dawn or dusk, my favourite thing is probably the adventure and just being present in those rare moments when ‘time stands still.’ I’ve recently started taking my son on overnight trips and it's probably these moments that will stay with me; sharing real time with him whilst doing what I love is something I’ll cherish forever. After the sun has set and the fire is lit, uploading the photographs to the computer is another favourite moment, but, seeing them printed large on fine art paper is up there with the adventure.
Who inspires me?
In the Photography world, I’m inspired by so many amazing shooters but if I had to narrow it down, these would be my top 10: Llyod Meudell, Ray Collins, Brent Bielmann, Sasha Specker, Ben Thouard, Matt Clarke, Warren Keelan, Rambo Estrada, Cory Scott and Stuart Johnson. Other than Ocean Photographers, my entire family inspire's me, because at the end of the day who else makes you feel prouder when you’ve done well.
What inspires me?
I’m inspired by mother nature, in particular the elements that enable the ocean to change its appearance second by second, minute by minute, hour after hour and day by day. The fact that I haven’t taken my best shot inspires me to keep going back knowing the conditions will dictate what I come away with. I’m inspired by the fact that my kids will watch my journey and hopefully be inspired to follow their hearts and do what they love. I'm inspired by my culture and everything it represents. I’m inspired by the world. By the wind and tides. The sun and the moon. I’m inspired by life.
Well thats it for this week and once again thank you so much for having a read, I sincerely appreciate it 🙏
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Ma te wa,