Jim Lee, Steam Train, 1970

London based photographer and film director Jim Lee has developed a fresh and unique photographic style. His ‘auteurship’ developed from the late 1960’s to the present. He has shot campaigns for Ossie Clark, Versace, Alexander McQueen, Zandra Rhodes, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Valentino among others.

Jim Lee’s work has appeared in Elle, Vogue, the London Sunday Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Playboy as well as numerous other fashion publications. He has directed commercials for Esso, Lindt, the Royal Mail, Johnnie Walker, Saab, British Airways and many other major corporations.

Lee has directed several feature films in addition to his other work. Jim Lee has exhibited his photography at Hamilton’s Gallery in London as well as the Sommerset House. He is currently scheduled for international museum exhibitions in Moscow and Beijing. His photographic style is cinematic – with close angular cropping and narrative constructions. The pictures generally have a dynamic quality and show subjects in motion. The work intrigues us and is often enigmatic and slightly cryptic. The use of color and often times the multiple sequencing of his photographs pushes the narratives in unique and interesting directions. The pictures are inventive and reference impressionist and contemporary painting as well as classic works of cinema. His work challenges the viewer with its immediacy, inventiveness, graininess, and motion. Jim Lee has experimented with special film stocks, filters, and film processing techniques. He’s very demanding and specific about the look of his final prints.

Jim Lee draws on his personal life with his photographic references. His mother and father were MI6 with the Secret Service in Britain; he moved around often as a child and was not cut out for the classic academic career his parents had planned for him. He attended a dramatic academy for several years, roamed the Outback of Australia, and narrowly escaped being drafted into the Vietnam War. His rebellious and free wheeling youth helped create the scenarios and original vitality of his photographic work. Lee’s early experience in photography was as a freelance photojournalist. He subsequently apprenticed with a fashion photographer and learned his craft from the ground up. His photography campaigns have been outrageous and daring in their inventiveness as well as their size. They have earned him comparisons to Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton in his ability to challenge the norms of formulaic, safe, and conservative fashion based photography.

 

 

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