“I’m the kind of photographer who is the fly on the wall, I don’t like getting in everyone’s face.” Charming and witty, photographer Olivia Rae James was everything I thought she would be and more. She is a Nashville native who now calls Charleston home. When asked why she decided to come to Charleston she enlightened me that her grandpa “talked about it constantly and he painted this super romantic vision of Charleston and I just always wanted to go there after that. I just fell in love with it!”
Ms. James is notorious for capturing flowers, aesthetically aged structures, and lost moments. Her work can be appreciated on her blog OliviaRaeJames that features recent projects and personal documentations. Her list of clienteles includes Kinfolk, Garden & Gun, Charleston Magazine, Freunde von Freunden and more.
We shared a glass of our Watts Up Rosé (her favorite kind of wine) which she declared “Amazing!” as she told her story…
How did you decide to pursue photography?
Well, I started this blog when I was 18. I was just using phone photos and I never intended for it to be anything that people read, just for my own personal documentation. I just got more and more into it organically, and when I graduated I just didn’t consider that a viable job option. I was like, I have to get a real job I can not just be a photographer, its too good to be true! But I grew up hearing my dad say “find what makes you happy and just do whatever you have to do to go for it.”
Do you usually have your camera on you?
I don’t right now (sweetly chuckled). Honestly, I used to carry it everywhere before I was doing it professionally, now I don’t really take it with me because A. it’s so big and B. I find that if I constantly have it with me I feel this pressure to shoot and can’t really enjoy myself. I like to take breaks from it and then I get excited to get back to it instead of burning myself out.
If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go?
I’ve traveled around Europe a lot so lately I’ve been dying to go to Southeast Asia or South America, just somewhere totally new that feels exotic and different. I would love to go to Bali but I don’t know, I could think of a reason to go anywhere at anytime.
What kind of music have you been listening to?
Have you heard of the Youth Lagoon? I’ve been listening to them a lot lately. I find something I love and wear it out, I’ve been playing their cd over and over. Its great background music as well as to blast.
What do you see coming for you in the future?
I’m pretty laid back with that kind of stuff. I take it day by day and let things evolve organically. I don’t know what my ultimate goal with photography is I am just taking on every job that comes my way and just seeing what I like and what I don’t like. I just go with the flow.