- NEW YORK -
We first discovered James Nord through his own blog Highlighted Life, where he captures work and life in pictures. It intrigued us and soon we realised that besides imagery, we shared a passion as well. Cycling! James has been a Rapha racer for years and we have followed his adventures through the blog, which over time became a great success. James is now a full time fashion photographer and also the co-founder of Fohr Card, a community that enables brands and bloggers to connect. We figured it’s about time we met.
Where are you right now and what is happening today?
- Right now it’s a Saturday afternoon and the city is drenched in rain, I would normally be on my bike on a Saturday, but alas I am at the kitchen table, catching up on Chris Harris car videos on YouTube.
Where are you from originally? Did you grow up in a creative environment?
- I was born in Queens, but was raised most of my life in Georgia, I grew up with 2 brothers, which meant survival was an act of creativity.
You’re involved in a lot of things – what would you call yourself?
- I’m an all arounder. I’ve called myself a lot of things but right now it’s mainly the CEO of Fohr Card.
Your career as a photographer took off after being discovered through your blog, why don’t you tell about that!
- My career as a photographer was only really possible because of my blog. I never set out to become a photographer, but as the blog gained traction I figured I best get better at photography. From there I was able to leverage my following on Tumblr into work with some of the best brands in the world.
Were you inspired to start up Fohr Card by the fact that you are a blogger yourself?
- I was inspired to start Fohr Card out of my experience trying to get work in fashion using my blog and the help that I got from my future co-founder Rich Tong. He set up my first job in fashion (shooting for Oscar de la Renta) from there my career took off and a year after that, we asked each other, why not try and do what he did for me, for thousands of people.
Let’s talk about New York, the place where you currently live and work. What do you love about it and what makes it special?
- I live in the Lower East Side and work in Williamsburg, but let’s focus on the LES. I love this neighborhood because, to me, it’s one of the last great New York City hoods around. It’s got all of the grime and dirt and it’s not ashamed of it. You lose that in the West Village or even Williamsburg. I know the Lower East Side will change soon, hell, they are putting a SoHo House here, but I’ll be here till it dies.
If you had to sum yourself up, as a photographer?
- I was always an amatuer playing a bit above my head, but I got really lucky, and as I look back over my career as a photographer I’ll be forever grateful for the chances I got.
How do you prefer to work – photograph people and spaces naturally as they are and carry on or are you more into staging them?
- I always prefer to be more a spectator and just try and grab interesting moments as they reveal themselves.
How do you create a connection with the people you photograph?
- Same as you do with anyone, but it helps a lot if you can get them laughing, you know what else helps? Whiskey.
What is your most memorable photo shoot?
- I will never forget the first time I shot an Oscar de la Renta show, I had next to no idea what I was doing, but here I was among the most beautiful women and beautiful clothes in the world.
Next to photography, there are other passions in your life, like fashion and cycling for instance. Tell us more about that!
- I grew up in a house that emphasized passions and have been spending my life collecting them. I race bikes for Rapha here in the city, which does a lot to keep me sane. It also does a lot to keep me in the suits I enjoy wearing everyday.
How would you characterize your expression – both in terms of personal style and photography? Do they align in any way?
- I think every year I get older my style moves into a more traditional place, but the fun part of personal style is making it your own. It’s something I love so much about your watches, they are classic, but also unique.
What do you think about the creative scene in New York right now – anything or anyone in particular that makes you tick?
- I try and surround myself with people who make me better, that’s true of my co-founder and staff at Fohr Card and extends to my friends and family.
What is your work process? How do you imagine a new project weather it’s about photography, entrepreneurship or anything creative?
- I wouldn’t say I have a strong process, I do a lot of pacing, I think better when I am on the move.
What continues to hold your interest with photography the most?
- For me it’s about trying to capture the best moments of my life.