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Lose yourself in gorgeous scenes, from the Amalfi Coast to North Carolina

6 years ago

For over thirty-five years, artist and visual storyteller, Jimmy Williams has worked on countless assignments with a myriad of creative minds. His portfolio flows from portrait to landscape to life moments. Williams’ international client list includes Maker’s Mark, Barilla, Harley-Davidson, Norwegian Cruise Lines, The British Virgin Islands, The U.S. Virgin Islands, Hyatt and Land Rover.

His work has won accolades at The One Show, The International Photography Awards, The Photography Masters Cup and The B&W Spider Awards. His work has also been published in Communication Arts, Photo District News, Rangefinder, B&W and Color magazines.

Jimmy is a member of PhotoShelter, the leader in portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers.


Hi Jimmy. Firstly, why photography?

I’m a visual thinker and find photography a very natural way to communicate and express my feelings. Regardless of the objective of each photo, I’m always compelled by the most basic core element of photography: light, and how to use it to create mood and evoke emotions within the "story" of the photograph.


When and why did you come to the medium?

I didn't become serious about photography until I attended the School of Design at NC State University. My career path could have led me to be a designer or art director. But my passion for photography and my natural ability to experience art differently through the lens of a camera provided me with a strong photographic portfolio to present when I graduated. During my senior year, I started to secure photo assignments, which eventually lead to a full-time career. 


Your work spans many different ideas and concepts, with a portfolio full of advertising, editorial and personal work. How do you balance all these different genres?

Each of these genres evokes a unique inspiration and approach. But every genre builds upon the next. New ideas develop and sometimes refresh the creative vision of the others. Each transformation then becomes a spark for generating a new series or even an evolution of my vision. That's the beauty of a new idea or project; you are always starting fresh and inspired. 


What inspires you and your work?  

I want to feel something when I view my photos. Yes, beauty has always been a primary inspiration for me, but everyone defines beauty within their own vision. Combining visual beauty with an emotional story creates imagery that is not only beautiful but also personal, almost private, to the viewer.


Do you have a photographic philosophy?  

Whether I compose a scenario or capture it spontaneously, I always start with – how do I want this image to feel? I have to open myself up to the moment and trust my emotions to dictate and inspire a compelling story. I also need to build a connection or a feeling of familiarity with the subjects that allows me to touch their vulnerable, unguarded selves. These emotions can be raw. Sometimes private. But always honest.