Nashville-based Jamie Goodsell started his photography career working in the music industry, inspired by the photographers who shot his favorite album covers. Over the course of eight years, he had the opportunity to work with various musicians and develop a notable portfolio.
Recently though, Jamie decided to leave the fast-paced music scene, to focus more on cultivating his own style of fine art, capturing subjects with a personal touch. We speak with Jamie on his creative background, and how our LomoChrome films have influenced his creative outlook.
Hi Jamie, it’s nice to have you in our Lomography Magazine. Can you briefly introduce yourself?
Thank you so much for having me! I’ve been based in Nashville, Tennessee for over a decade, but originally I’m from a small town in upstate New York. I’ve been working professionally for a full decade now (which is crazy to think about), and have been published in various publications like Rolling Stone and Uncut Magazine.
When did you start shooting film, and what got you into it?
I started shooting film around age nine with my mom’s Kodak point-and-shoot on vacations to the beach. Taking pictures is actually something I witnessed a lot in my family growing up. If anything, I owe it to them for showing me the importance of documentation. I’m of the age where all we had was film - there weren’t digital cameras yet - so it was out of necessity. That sort of transitioned into always carrying a 35 mm point-and-shoot with me to document my friends when we’d go out skateboarding. I suppose it was a conscious choice to keep it with me, because deep down (even at that age) I was hyper aware that we’d never be in that era of our lives again. My friends and family are so important to me, so I suppose that was my way of holding onto them forever.
What got me into film photography on a serious level was my high school darkroom class. We were given film, cameras, and provided with all of the chemicals and paper to see the full spectrum of the process. I still have one of my first prints from that class framed in my office. That was the first time I had ever been shown a photography book and was introduced to some of the greats, like Diane Arbus, Joel Meyerowitz, Sally Mann, Richard Avedon, Gordon Parks, and so many more. It was also the first time that it dawned on me that maybe this is what I wanted out of life, to just do what I loved.
How do you think your background in music influences your style of photography?
This is a really great question, thank you. I’ve always been a music junkie. It wasn’t until I started getting serious with photography that I thought to start looking at photo credits inside of the albums. Once I did that, I was hooked and saw a really clear path forward. I would definitely encourage anyone to start paying attention to those photo credits and looking up work that way. I discovered so many great photographers like Henry Diltz, Barry Feinstein, Mick Rock, Keith Macmillan, Elliot Landy, Michael Ochs, and the list goes on. I just tried to study how they executed their photographs, whether it was a portrait approach or more candid. I look at the lighting style, the compositions, the colors they choose. You can really learn so much from looking at others' work, it’s easy to forget that, so I try to make it a habit. On the flip side of that, I try to not let others' work influence me to the point of subconsciously copying what they did - it’s a balance for sure.
Your style focuses a lot on portraits. What do you think makes a good portrait?
I don’t do a whole lot of directing on set, because I really like to capture people the way they would normally just exist. I’ll make slight adjustments along the way, and will confidently say I know what looks good and what doesn’t, but that has come from working out my own style over the past decade.
What I love about shooting film, you really do have to slow it down, consider each frame, and make it count. I’m sure this has been said before, but as photographers, we are looking through a viewfinder that’s connected to all of our past experiences, our personal struggles, our education, our creative influences, and the full spectrum of being a human, and that influences the timing of which we decide to press the shutter button. I think a good portrait will make you stop and take a moment. Our attention spans are dwindling rapidly, so if an image can get us to slow down for a brief moment in time, what a wonderful thing that is. A great example to me would be Avedon’s “In The American West” series. Those are portraits that you just can’t look away from, they really pull you in, and to me that’s part of what makes a good portrait.
You’ve used a variety of our LomoChrome films. What are your impressions of them?
Firstly, I want to say how grateful I am that anyone still invests in this medium. Thank you Lomography for continuing to put out products that are of good quality and fun to use! For me using LomoChrome film has continually given me results that have exceeded my expectations. With any experimental film, you don’t know what to expect, but it just sort of spices things up you know? My main film has always been Kodak Portra 800, but sprinkling in a little seasoning here and there can really make for wonderful alternatives. I’ve been impressed with how well LomoChrome performs in every lighting scenario, including low-light. I’ve found myself using them more and more in my freelance work, and have gotten nothing but positive feedback from clients.
Do you have a favorite Lomography film?
The muted tones in the LomoChrome Metropolis film are simply beautiful and I’ve been really impressed with that stock. For me, they all bring unique qualities to a shoot, and part of the fun is experimenting with that. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite just because I truly enjoy shooting with all of them.
I’m curious—the LomoChrome Purple-looking photo of Mikaela Davis (above left) is actually shot with LomoChrome Turquoise. What was your process like, and why did you choose to make this edit?
Admittedly, I still struggle a bit with seeing skin tones on the purple and turquoise films, which is why ultimately I decided to invert my image of Mikaela Davis & Southern Star in post. It also just ended up looking really cool that way and happened to match the packaging she was doing for her upcoming record. It’s kind of wild how well that one worked out, but I absolutely have to credit the band for coming into that photoshoot prepared. There’s a Gordon Parks quote, “the subject matter is so much more important than the photographer” and I couldn’t agree with that more.
I do color correction, art scanning, and fine art printing for a living, so seeing skin tones in different colors gives me slight anxiety, but I’m warming up to it and I do think it can work in certain situations. If anything, LomoChrome has made me loosen up a bit, which is a good thing. I think the world can feel pretty uptight at times, so we need companies like Lomography to keep things fun!
You mentioned you have more band shoots lined up this summer. What do you plan to experiment with, photographically speaking?
I really loved the results from LomoChrome Turquoise, so that will be in the rotation for sure. For me the turquoise film opened up other doors to experiment with colors in-camera or in post. One of the most interesting things about LomoChrome to me is how the color intensity varies depending on what film speed you’re shooting at. All around it’s just experimental and so fun to throw into the mix with any shoot.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I think that with social media, we’re being trained to thrive off of validation. I would just say to anyone that’s reading this, to not let seeing someone with more followers and likes discourage you from making art. Don’t base your worth on how many likes a photo gets because at the end of the day, none of that matters. Instead, I would implore you to get together with friends and have meaningful discussions and critiques in real life. I’ll say it again…likes do not matter. What matters is putting in the work, growing, expanding, and seeing the actual tangible result from your own creativity (a print). Print your work people! It will absolutely help you get better and you’ll see your work in such a deeper way than on a little screen.
The best advice I ever got was to simply persevere. Continue to make art you love and the right clients will find you. Thanks again to Lomography for letting me contribute my thoughts and work, I’m so grateful.