The Latin phrase “Lux Pictora” translates as “Light Painters.”

I’m James Alford and my career’s design has been to foster skills in diverse photographic genres, mostly engaging in journalism. I also teach my craft. The amalgam, that is my career, has caused an interesting question to develop in my brain.

“How do I define myself as a photographer?”

I am one of the Lux Pictora. I tell stories about people. I photograph people. That is how I develop and hone my craft.

My grandfather first inspired me to pick up the camera when I was in middle school. He had been a photographer and historian. Through high school and college I studied photojournalism, applying my love for the art to the vocation of journalism. I also develop skills in graphic art which went hand in hand with my love for photography.

In 2008, I graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in photojournalism and began my career. This was a tumultuous time in the news industry. Downsizing, new innovations and new priorities had my chosen profession in flux. 

I was fortunate to always have work, though I had to change jobs many times to keep a living wage.

Recently, I grew tired of chasing journalism jobs simply because they paid better. I was tired of newspaper owners and publishers crying about empty pockets when talking about raises. I feel out of love for newspapers, but not my craft.

I love photography, and telling stories. I became a teacher and now, not only take photo,s but help others find their inspiration to create as well. It has been a very satisfying transition.

In closing, I take great inspiration from Ansel Adams. He spoke of photography in musical terms and described printing a photo as an new performance. The negative was the music, but the print could be interpreted in new vivid ways. I like this thought, combining music and light to create art:

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”