Russell James Photographs the World’s Most Famous Fashion Models—Minus the Fashion
UV Pigment Print on Igarashi Kozo, a 430 gram Japanese handmade paper made of Kozo & Pulp, supplied by Hiromi Paper, Inc. Archival, ph neutral, with a deckled edge.
In 2012, internationally renowned Australian born photographer Russell James met with the Chief of The Seminole Tribe of Florida, James E. Billie, to discuss Nomad Two Worlds, the steeply messaged fine art and cultural collaboration project that James founded in 2001. A bond was formed, and James embarked on a two-year exploration and artistic interpretation of The Seminole Tribe of Florida. During that time, James was given unfettered introductions to Tribe Members spanning all clans, privileged access to Seminole land, their homes, cultural sites and traditions.
James’ artistic interpretation of The Seminole Tribe of Florida is entitled ‘Seminole Spirit’. Initially overwhelmed by accounts of the extraordinary hardships The Tribe has faced and overcome over the years, James developed great respect for their hard-won reputation as ‘The Unconquered’, and most of all, for their irrepressible will and ability to adapt, move forward and excel in the face of such adversity. James says, “Seminole Spirit is about the past and present being reconciled with a profoundly simple message – move forward together.”
During the creative process, James imagined and brought to life a single character to represent the core values of The Seminole Tribe as he had come to understand them. Equally inspired by James’ account of Seminole history, supermodel Behati Prinsloo agreed to become an artistic partner in the project. Ms. Prinsloo’s character ‘Seminole Spirit’ is the metaphor for the strength, vision, beauty and cultural relevance that James feels emanates from The Seminole Tribe of Florida. Ms. Prinsloo was taken deep into Seminole Lands to be photographed and filmed by James, using artistic concepts derived from his distinctive ‘Nomad Two Worlds’ project. The outcome is a stunning visual interpretation of The Tribe’s cultural progression and modern day relevance, delivered in sensual and dramatic themes through the vision of James.
The ‘Seminole Spirit’ fine art collection has been produced on exquisite handmade archival Japanese papers. The main collection is experienced with the support of multi-media art forms, including an art film featuring the spoken word of the Spiritual Leader of The Seminole Tribe, Bobby Henry, and a fine-art photography exhibition that incudes portraits of Tribal Members, cultural sites and breathtaking landscapes.
ABOUT RUSSELL JAMES
Russell James was born in Australia and currently lives and works in New York City. His images have become synonymous with provocative, unique perspectives of many of the most prominent people of our time in the worlds of entertainment, fashion and beauty, and his work has appeared in publications such as Vogue, W, American Photo and French Photo, Marie Claire, GQ, Sports Illustrated, and a vast array of international art and photography journals, as well as ten fine-art books. To date, he has had five monographs published by teNeues, globally renowned for their fine art books and photographic anthologies. In August 2007, James received the acclaimed Hasselblad Masters Award, and in 2009 he joined the prestigious ranks of Irving Penn and Helmut Newton as a resident artist of CAMERA WORK, the world’s leading gallery for contemporary photography and vintage master works, based in Berlin, Germany. James’s fine-art series have been exhibited in Tokyo, Berlin, Stockholm, Sydney, New York, Los Angeles, and most recently at the renowned 212 Gallery in Aspen.
“The Seminole Tribe of Florida are the most progressive and determined group of people I have ever met; their history of struggle, reinvention and adaptation is one of the greatest untold stories I have encountered that must become a source of global inspiration.” - RUSSELL JAMES
Series: Seminole Spirit
Signature: Signed by Russell James
Image rights: Photography by Russell James
Russell James is best known for photographing women in various stages of undress—some are entirely bare, while others wear cinched corsets, binding lingerie, or seductive underwear. His images of nude women tend to be understated and sculptural, while his photographs of scantily clad women ooze with sexuality and lust. The successful fashion and celebrity photographer made a departure from such work, however, when he embarked on his “Nomad Two Worlds” (2012) project. For this series, James returned to his native Australia to collaborate with Aboriginal artists on a collection of images depicting their struggle and experience. Incorporating paint and photography, the resulting works combine James's sensual nudes with his collaborators' earth-toned and organic shapes: circles, dew drops, and curving lines.
Australian, b. 1962, Perth, Western Australia