“My philosophy is to keep things simple. It’s easy to use a bunch of different lights, but what you want can probably be achieved in a much simpler way if you consider what you need. It’s amazing what you can achieve in the studio with just a couple of lights.”
As a Toronto-based photographer, Jim has provided award-winning visuals for many well-known brands and agencies. He specializes in food, food packaging, still life, and product photography. His work gives him the opportunity to collaborate with talented art directors, designers, and creatives from across the industry. A sense of adventure has allowed for the further exploration of creative projects that have resulted in repeated awards from Graphis, Applied Arts, and Communication Arts. When not behind the camera, Jim can be found in the kitchen, riding his motorcycle, or enjoying life outdoors with his family.
Jim’s attention to detail is sublime and he is a professional through and through. His photographs evoke an emotional response, sense of place, and tangibility, with lighting that evolves and adapts to every subject he photographs. He approaches each assignment with passion. Jim Norton is a world-class photographer and an amazing human being; he has built up an impressive client list and continues to travel, returning with stunning landscapes that leave one breathless.
Here’s a snippet from Jim Norton’s interview:
What inspired or motivated you to start your career?
The path I took to get to where I am now is a little convoluted, but the common thread has always been the people I’ve encountered. Many people will lift you up and encourage you; those people will always be inspiring. On rare occasions, the unhappy ones want to share their misery with you, but you learn to move beyond that. I chose to only work with people that had the courage to be the best they are in what they do, and I hope that’ll be something I can be to others. I find that very motivating.
What is your work philosophy?
My philosophy is to keep things simple. It’s easy to use a bunch of different lights, but what you want can probably be achieved in a much simpler way if you consider what you need. It’s amazing what you can achieve in the studio with just a couple of lights. If I’m shooting daylight or on a location where I can’t control the light, you have to adapt with what you can work with. There is no cookie-cutter approach to what we do. Each project will have unique challenges.
What is it about photography that you love the most?
I love sharing my experiences with people. When someone has an emotional reaction or connection to one of my photographs, that is so satisfying as it’s a very subjective art form. I don’t expect everyone to love everything I do. I like honesty in my photos; whether it’s personal or professional, I always want my photos to hold true to what they represent.
What is your favorite type of photography to shoot?
I have to approach this in two ways: professional and personal. Professionally, I love to photograph food. It really is just another part of the still life genre that I enjoy. It combines a wide variety of disciplines: technical, compositional, and creative, along with the ability to work with like-minded people in the industry. Personally, I focus on travel. I’ve had many opportunities over the years to visit places that have really grabbed my attention, and for me, it’s about absorbing what that place is; not just in my own vision, but the reality of what it is once you’re actually there. I’ve found through my own experiences that the first few days of any new adventure are about understanding what my opportunities may be, and then you always find your groove and see where the adventure will take you.
Read more of Jim Norton’s interview and discover other great artists and educators in Graphis Journal #374, which you can purchase online at graphis.com.