For this edition we have a very great photographer from New York City, Jame Mullally. At first I just saw some of his photos and thought he was really really good but once I reached out to him and looked through more of his photos I realized that he is great at what he does. And then when we conducted this interview and saw some of the answers that he was giving in his interview I became a fan. So get to know James Mullally.
TRS: What is your name and what do you do?
My name is James Mullally, I’m a strategist at an ad agency and a street & adventure photographer.
TRS: Where are you from and how has being there affected your creativity?
I live in New York City, but I think I got the creative spark when I moved to Dubai during high school. The city literally rose from the dust, creating one of the world’s most dramatic visual playgrounds. Those memories stayed with me, and I see several aspects of my life and my surroundings in a different light as a result.
TRS: Explain what initially got you into shooting?
Introversion and observation seem to go hand in hand. I’m usually listening and observing my environment more often than I’m speaking, and you gain a certain appreciation for detail that breeds the urge to capture what you see. This feeling of “Fuck, I wish I could capture this moment.”
Shooting also gave me a reason to explore. I got out of school and booked a trip to Europe and started shooting. That may be the first time I took a picture and someone said hey, that’s not bad. I had a picture picked up by @followmefaraway, and I remember how exhilarating it was to know that people liked my work. Apparently my grandmother likes my shots too; shout out to you, grandma.
TRS: Explain what does an average day look like for you?
When I want to shoot, I typically just hop on the subway and seek out weird places around New York. “Dude, why are you going an hour into Queens? I don’t know, I heard there was an abandoned building…” is usually how that goes. I’m also incredibly motivated by travel; I try to find places that are relatively untouched by the typical tourist trail.
TRS: What things do you look at or watch for inspiration?
I like massive structures and natural land forms – bridges, mountains, canyons, etc. I’m also incredibly drawn to graffiti. It adds this counter-culture color to simple photos. I’d travel the world to see a tag. I’d love to see El Seed’s mural that spans an entire neighborhood in Cairo.
TRS: What camera setup do you currently use (camera, lens, other accessories, etc)?
I’ve got a Nikon D3300 with a 18-140mm lens and a little, rickety tripod that I have to balance just so it won’t fall down.
TRS: What do you specialize in or what do you enjoy shooting the most and why?
I think I look for two things: Symmetry & Depth. Humans are physically drawn to symmetry and nature is full of it. And if a picture has depth, people can envision far more than what they’re looking at. I want them to see far into the distance of a picture so they can picture what it’s like to walk through it and experience it.
I admire photographers who use people to increase the depth or personality of a picture. I haven’t quite mastered that craft.
TRS: Since we believe that music is the center around all things creative, what are your top 3 music albums, and what about those albums that gets you in a creative zone?
I think I owe it to myself to say the first would be A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. Kanye West recently talked about synesthesia and his ability to see sounds. Granted, that’s Kanye being Kanye, but with Midnight Marauders I can see what he means – that explosive color of improv jazz – a mean bass and master craft flow that transcends classification.
They revolutionized what genres an album could blend. And that’s what photography should do, drag you in with the familiar but improvise to make something new. I got to meet all four of them this past summer and it’s the only personal picture I’ve posted in years. They changed my life. RIP Phife.
The second would be Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning, because sad Sinatra can put you in a mood.
The third would be Beirut’s Gulag Orkestar. ‘Scenic World’ is one of those songs that you turn on and the world expands.
TRS: Who are some shooters that you follow and what do you admire about their work?
I love @tobishinobi & @macenzo, those guys are brilliant and really know how to bring out angles. I also like @vuhlandes because his pictures have this raw energy and style, and then up-and-comers like @resh510 and @jonsevik.
TRS: What is one tangible piece of advice that you would give somebody who has just started shooting?
I’m going to bend this question and give some tangible and intangible advice.
TANGIBLE: Take calculated shots. I hate seeing people shoot 40 times a minute and have no idea what they’re looking at. Map out every line, texture, and angle. Look for symmetry. Make sure that shot is taken for a reason. I find myself constantly dissecting angles everywhere I go now.
INTANGIBLE: Shoot until you find what makes you special. Modern photography and platforms like Instagram have created a tendency to follow the leader or post fluff, but you’ll never find what your creative essence is until you seek it out. I try to ask myself, could anyone have taken this? What makes this special? And don’t get discouraged if your shots aren’t perfect, and don’t get a big head if people like your work.
TRS: What is next for you?
I want to start collaborating more. I haven’t really explored that aspect of photography and I’d love to learn from other people. Give me a shout!