Traveling internationally as a model I became enticed and enmeshed in a world of cameras and photography. My mum donated me her Nikon D40 and a rusty old Pentax on my first trip and I quickly became obsessed. For a budding amateur, the traveller’s life afforded me exposure to a whole range of backgrounds and subject matter.

In 2014 my mother was diagnosed with ALS and I returned to Australia to take care of her until her death in 2015. Lesley Speed was a keen artist, and my sister and I aided her in putting a final exhibition of her works together before she became unable to hold a brush. I documented parts of her gradual decline. It was during this period of introspection when I realized, despite my success modelling, that my true passion is, undeniably, photography. Considering the portentous nature of losing a mother I decided that it was time to set out on my own artistic trajectory.

During this period I began to utilize film predominantly (in part due to the fact I had much of my digital equipment stolen from my car) and I purchased a mini lab scanner in order to develop and experiment with shots. Meanwhile, I took a full time job as a lab technician (2016 to 2018) and began work as a freelance photographic assistant.

Over the past year my editorial work has been featured by Vogue Australia and Paco Rabanne Magazine. I have held exhibitions at Station Street Gallery, Newtown, and the Taste of Northern China, Bondi Junction. I have also assisted photographers Byron Spencer and Bec Parsons, to name a couple. I have also recently starting to travel and work abroad again with my girlfriend Anna.

Currently, I am focused on trying to write about my experience with photo-processing and photography, trying to shed light on the mysteries of the minilab or share some of my own insights on how to capture through my blog, Film Advanced.


Photos and Words by James Cater