Photo courtesy James Anthony, Cartagena, Jan. 2018
A little bit about the James Anthony we know: he’s not afraid to jump into a mud volcano, he keeps calm during minor emergencies in said mud volcano, he shoots his surroundings without disrupting the natural order of things, he’s inspired and inspiring, he’s a world traveler, a visionary, and he loves his art and his community deeply.
That said, these are only a couple of reasons why we knew right off the bat - on a bus ride from Cartagena to ‘El Totumo’ mud volcano - that this guy was special. Since meeting him in February, he has moved to Los Angeles, participated in the #DreamVillageTour, and appeared on Ellen! (Yes, that Ellen!) We can barely keep up with James, but see him as a kindred and kinetic person of the world seeking collaboration and creation at every stop. This January, he’ll be stopping in Medellin, Colombia, to host a photography workshop on-site for up-and-coming photographers looking to grow their international portfolio.
We met JA earlier this year in Cartagena, on a job with Global Jet Black. He was the designated photographer for GJB’s trip to Cartagena and Cali, Colombia. Although it would have been a dream to chill with with GJB’s crew for the entirety of the week, we only had the pleasure of spending one full day with them in Cartagena. As their city hosts, we organized a trip from their hotel in Getsemani (close to ‘El Centro’ of Cartagena) to the mud volcano, about 45 minutes outside of town. On our way back, we stopped in ‘La Boquilla,’ a well-known Afro-Colombian fishing village, where we facilitated a canoe excursion of the mangroves, an economy that serves the local community. Following an informative tour of daily life in the village - James was chosen to cast a local’s fishing net to see what he came in with - we busted open the coconuts, hit the shade, and enjoyed a typical fresh fried fish meal - replete with ‘patacones’ (fried plantains) and coconut rice.
Under the thatched roof at a long table decorated with bright red table cloth, we all cooled off with coconuts + rum and local beer, and regained our bearings, recalling the day’s events and getting to know each of the travelers a little more.
JA, however, had a magnetism that our team was drawn to. He was inspired by travel, his art, his family, his wife, his community, and burst onto the photography scene with a hunger so real no one could deny it. Throughout lunch he spoke a bit about manifesting one’s dreams and the very real power of positive energy, hard work, and commitment to becoming the best photographer he could be. It seems to have worked. In just a few years, he was not only being asked to shoot celebrities and magazine covers, but to speak about the more nebulous but equally important aspects of ‘success,’ and ‘making it.’ Folks have been looking to him for a while now as an example of what persistence-of-vision can mean professionally and personally. He’s as much a photographer as he is an innovator and guru.
We loved what he was putting out there and could tell that others were, too. After lunch we chatted about traveling, relaxed in hammocks, and took advantage of the gorgeous afternoon to take more photos. As if someone had told us we were ‘meant’ to be - we knew we would link up again for something rewarding.
When JA comes to Medellin for The Right Light Photo Workshop with us this January 31-February 6, 2019, it will be his first time in Antioquia (the department in which Medellin is situated) - home to the super estrella J. Balvin and its in/famous Bandeja Paisas - but not JA’s first time making art in a new place.
We wanted James to lead this trip because he knows how to dig in and connect. He translates his vision into palpable scenes. He cares about people and their community. He knows how to travel respectfully and responsibly. And he is a damn good photographer who knows how to make lasting images.
Join us. This trip is about challenging yourself as a photographer in new scenarios and trusting the process. We’re taking care of the rest.