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James Reade Venable

In New York, Virginia, Belgium, and points between, peripatetic artist-photographer James Reade Venable demonstrates a fundamental axiom for success in photography – “Be there and be packing.”  Whether it’s for the moment when winter turns to spring, or for the moment when political history is being made, James has a knack for being there.  Whether with an iPhone from an eBike while delivering food during the pandemic or with film on a slower, analog walk in the park, he is usually carrying, aware that the best camera is the one you have with you.

"I can’t explain how I see. Something tells me to shoot. Sometimes I will just walk and snap randomly at people and I get a surprise when I develop. You get mostly crap, but life gives you great stuff sometimes. And no matter how good you are, there is a lot of luck. I pretend that my work is a movie and each shot tells a story. That means no fear, shooting things that aren’t pretty, and sneaky shooting–long lenses, like a spy. It may be invasive, but it’s real. As soon as you ask people for permission the veneer comes up.  Sometimes, in architectural, urb ex, and city shooting, I see something in the math of a place that creates an abstract image. Often it's a lighting situation that makes a difference. Shadows and artificial light are your friends."

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