Jim Jordan: A Visionare Par Excellence

Liam and Jeila

Writing has many perks. The best of them is meeting people who share their passion with us. They thrill and inspire us with stories of their lives. Jim Jordan is one of those phenomenal personalities. IFDC was lucky enough to catch a few moments to learn just how he became synonymous as a Visionare Par Excellance.

Previously we got a glimpse of the true inspiration and master of seeing beyond the face,  And as  promised heres part 2.

Lets get to know more about Jim in this second part interview.

As a world renowned professional photographer, Jim says he has never attended any formal education or courses on photography. ‘I learnt photography by trial and error, experimenting and using only the sun for light’, says the man himself.

Q:  What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started taking pictures?

The one thing I wish I knew when I started taking photos was the technical aspect of how cameras worked, i.e. exposures, F-stops, and aperture.

When I was a make-up artist I could never ask questions to the photographers about photography. There are lots of photographers that have a competitive spirit.  So, I learned photography by making mistakes. I have made a lot of mistakes and learned substantially from them. Those mistakes kept pushing me forward.

Q: What kind of skills do you think are required in order to be successful in your industry?

I think the most important skills that you need to be a great photographer are communication and organizational skills. The one reason I would say I always achieve my goals are my ability to communicate well with everyone. I can express exactly what I want things to look like.

From the hairdresser to the makeup artist, to the talent, set dressers, prop stylist and to every compartment that has to do with my photo shoot. When I started as a fashion photographer, I did the hair, make-up and styling of the entire photo shoots. I was a one-man show. I believe my success is because I was a one-man show and didn’t need to wait for anybody to work with. I learned to communicate with everyone in the team by knowing how to do each of their jobs.

 What are some important things young photographers should know in order to get and retain clients?

 A:  If the picture is bad, there is no one to blame, but the photographer. So that’s why it’s very important that the photographers are artfully skilled in every area; from the styling (hair, make-up and clothing), to every single intricate detail on set (lighting, backdrops, composition, and positioning of models). To be detail orientated and to communicate well are the things I encourage my interns, new photographer and all my employees to learn.

Q: How did you become a model scout?

A:  When I was a kid, I just knew that I would one day I was going to do hair and make up for every star in Hollywood.

I used to skateboard and hitchhike to all the schools in my area pass out my business cards. Choosing the ugly duckling girls; those who everyone picked on. I’d tell them I was a model scout and to have their parents call me. Once I met with the girls, I’d do their makeup and hair. Then, I’d blow fans through their hair and pose them. The result was incredible pictures. These girls would look at their photographs and say, “I can’t believe that’s me!” I would reply, “This is what I am here to do. I think you could be a model.” Then I would take the pictures to talent agencies and get the girls signed.

During those early years, I was crazy-busy finding talent, doing hair and makeup, taking pictures, and getting models signed by all the right agencies. I made a lot of careers happen that way.

Q: Where do you find your models today?

A: There are no set places I consistently go to scout models. I’m always scouting, always working as I go about my life, so I find models in the most random places where you wouldn’t expect to find them. For example, I might find someone walking down the street or in a restaurant. I discovered the hugely successful model Jessica Strother at a restaurant.  I found three of my most current famous models in very odd places: Taylor in a barn, Gigi on the playground, and Jeremy Meeks in jail. There’s no rhyme or a reason for how I find talent, except that I can recognize it immediately.

Q: What are your thoughts on model diversity? Would you sign a model that does not fit the typical norm like plus-sized models?

A: I love diversity and believe that the fashion world needs to continue embracing it. I would absolutely sign a plus-sized model. I think there needs to be more of them. The fashion world needs to see that beauty comes in many forms and sizes.

Q: What are the pros and cons of the work you do?

A: The best side is creating an incredible imagery, making people feel amazing, beautiful, and letting them see themselves through my eyes. The experiences on the set – from having fun, being creative, making something beautiful and also make them get excited about it are all the best things of working with models and celebrities.

The worst thing about working with the celebrities is really sometimes the publicist that they bring with them to the shoot or people who is policing them, saying, “Oh! You only have 20 minutes to shoot these 7 outfits because she has to go!” 

Them being really restrictive and not letting us get into the flow so to say. I have had lots of experiences with publicists that have been difficult and challenging. It has made me a better photographer, because it forced me to learn how to work faster.

Q: What is the message that you are trying to express through your work? What inspires you? 

A: The one comment I get the most from people when they look at my photographs is, “Your work has a crisp edge and a brilliant energy.” The photographs I take reflect the way I live, and show who I am. That’s how I want people to view my photographs.

From artwork in museums, the music I listen to, the people I see or the beauty of the place that I visit- all of these give me inspiration. I get inspired by how the world is always in motion. Experiencing life to the fullest; that’s my inspiration.

Thank you!

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