My artworks rely on beauty and the art of seeing. They are a reflection of my ongoing personal search for meaning and understanding. Photography and art making are my means of exploring, questioning and reinterpreting the way that we perceive our world.
My photographs have been internationally exhibited and published, and are in the collections of such fine institutions as the Victorian and Albert Museum in London, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the George Eastman House, the Santa Barbara Museum, and the Musee de Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium and the Lianzhou Museum in Lianzhou, China. I have an MFA from Stanford University and have taught courses and workshops on various aspects of photography in both the United States and Europe. I am a dual U.S. / Italian citizen.
My website is: www.jimvecchi.com.
DOMINIQUE JAMES: How did you get started in photography?
JIM VECCHI: I got started taking photos through traveling and wanting to capture memories of the beautiful places and things that I was seeing. In
DJ: What kind of pictures do you like to take?
JV: I really enjoy taking images of seemingly small or unnoticed things that present themselves as I make my way through the day, moments or scenes that show up without my doing much of anything other than being there, present. The more I am receptive and responsive to that, the more it happens.
DJ: Who or what would you consider as influential to your photography?
JV: Only recently have I begun to understand my father’s influence on how I see the world. My father was a very intelligent hard-working man who was also capable of being very playful. He loved to make jokes or puns that took a word or a situation and turned it on its head, transforming a boring moment into one that was fun and entertaining. From that, I learned that this world becomes pregnant with possibility when we look beyond the literal and mundane.
DJ: What’s your favorite camera and lens?
JV: I don’t really have a favorite camera or lens. Often when I have finished a series of images I have the urge to switch cameras or to use the same camera but in a different way.
DJ: Any other particular piece of photo gear that you feel is essential or like using?
JV: The only essential ‘gear’ I hope to take with me each day is an open and inquisitive mind.
DJ: How you edit and enhance your pictures before showing them? What is your post-production process like?
JV: I am most interested in creating series of related images, so I rarely think of individual photographs in isolation. I spend a lot of time looking at the images I make, having long ‘conversations’ with them. Doing this, I learn from them, and I can begin to see what it is that they can show me. This is especially true when I am between projects and I photograph whatever my eyes are drawn to. Upon inspection, the images often coalesce in some way, suggesting to me a direction I should take in creating a series or body of work.
I’m not sure that I like to think of a ‘post-production process’ - I believe that the moment of seeing through the image’s final form is all part of an extended process of making choices. How the images will be handled and prepared develops organically as an integral part of this process.
DJ: How do you share your pictures and with whom?
JV: While continuing to make work, I’ve taken the last couple of years off from having exhibitions. Mostly, I got tired of all the tail-wagging necessary to make exhibitions happen. So at this point I mainly share my work through my website, www.jimvecchi.com. My projects are there for anyone to see and I am surprised at how often I hear from someone who in one way or another made their way to my site. My favorite way to share images, however, is through giving public talks on my work and my process. Doing that feels like a much deeper, more personal and more meaningful way to share.
DJ: How do you store or archive your pictures?
JV: I have my digital images at least double-stored on multiple hard drives. I am slowly getting around to digitizing my earlier work that was shot on film.
DJ: What do you think of today’s state of photography?
JV: I honestly don’t really know what to think of today’s state of photography. On the creative side, it’s fabulous that there are ever increasing ways to capture, create and/or work with images. There are many more people making many more photographs, along with many more ways to both view and share images. I suspect, however, that there is something undermining in this profusion. While I view more well made photos than ever before, nowadays it’s rare that I am truly moved or that images linger in my awareness. As for being a photographic artist, hoping to have an economic return from his or her work, I’m not sure that the situation has improved - in many ways I suspect it is the opposite.
DJ: What is that one all-important lesson you’ve learned when it comes to photography? What is the best piece of advice you’ve received and can share with others?
JV: I think that the most important lesson I’ve learned and the best advice I’ve received are one and the same. This may sound corny, but here it is: Be your own self.
Notes: All photographs on this page, used with permission, by Jim Vecchi. Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. For the complete set of interviews and photographs of all the amazing photographers featured on this blog’s exclusive Q&A, please click here.