Sailaway Crew: Clare James

Who are you? Describe your typical day...
I am a photographer/videographer based in Cornwall. I'm currently living in a static caravan at Penhale. The day starts with a strong black coffee and early morning surf or run, now that it is light in the morning. I then head to work which is at a local creative agency known as Idenna. My job role is varied and no two days are ever the same. I am often out on photography and film shoots, these vary depending on the client and range from working with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, to food photography for local hotels and videography for other Cornish businesses. When I'm not at work, I spend most of my time outdoors and preferably in the sea. I enjoy photographing wildlife, landscapes, the ocean, nature and have recently gotten into Macro photography. 
What initially inspired you to become a photographer? 
I first used a video camera underwater whilst out in Mexico documenting and studying the health of coral reefs. I was using the camera in order to help identify and document the changes we were seeing. It was challenging and I loved the extra challenge of using the camera whilst still diving and monitoring coral health. I then decided to try photography on land, and found I enjoyed it just as much as underwater. However, the extra challenge of underwater photography still makes it my favourite type of photography and although more challenging due to conditions in Cornwall, the marine life is stunning and I am determined to do more of it this year. 
El Salvador (15 of 71).jpg
How would you describe your style of photography? What do you wish to convey through your images? 
My style of photography developed whilst I was working out in South Africa as a Dive Instructor and Wildlife and Adventure Sport Photography Course Director. The country, light and landscape inspired me to try and capture the beauty of the natural world on camera which is challenging at the best of times. The aim of getting into photography and videography was to try and inspire the general public to care about the natural world, environment and humanitarian issues. I still try and carry this through in my work. As the famous quote say's 
" In the end we only conserve what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." (Baba Dioum, 1986)
El Salvador (57 of 71).jpg
Tell us about your relationship with the outdoors — have you always been a surfer?
I wish I had always been a surfer! However, I grew up just south of London. I have always felt claustrophobic in towns and used to disappear into the woods and wilderness whenever possible. Sportswise I spent most of my time mountain biking and swimming. However, I have always loved the ocean and water, as a child we spent family holidays in North Devon and I could not be kept out of the water even midwinter fully dressed. Surfing started when I decided to go to University in Falmouth, which was the best life decision I have made so far. 
As a break from work I embarked on my first swelly session at Porthtowan with two friends, after a successful session getting run over by both of them, and some hilarious wipeouts, we were hooked. My friend Emma and I then continued to push ourselves to go out and improve throughout Uni, and we still surf together all the time today. Recently we went on an epic trip to El Salvador for two weeks of solid surfing, which was the best surf trip of my life to date. It has such beautiful people, an amazing culture and unreal waves. Hopefully many more of those to come. 
What advice would you give to someone looking to become more environmentally conscious? 
In today's world which is often so far removed from the environment and therefore difficult to have an environmentally friendly lifestyle, which is ironic as we depend upon natural resources as a race to survive. I believe that every little effort helps and if everyone took it upon themselves to make a small difference, the world would be an improved place. Simple things like trying to buy locally sourced food and limit the amount of single-use plastics that we are using. Have you heard of The Final Straw Cornwall? I recently made a video for the campaign, the aim being to try and make Cornwall the first "straw free" county. Also, just simply taking a stroll outdoors and appreciating nature or educating the next generation on the importance of the environment to our wellbeing is a step in the right direction. There is no right answer, but simple respect and appreciation makes a big difference.
El Salvador (24 of 71).jpg
Favourite documentary? Album? Artist? 
When I was younger the only TV that I watched was Sunday night wildlife programmes such as Big Cat Diaries and other nature documentaries. These inspired me so much and I believe are one of the reasons I have taken the path that I am on now. Album wise I have an odd obsession with Andean Pan-pipe music, and David Shephard is one of my favourite wildlife Artists.
Words to live by…
"Two roads diverged into a yellow wood and I, I took the one less travelled by" Is a saying that I live my life by, its always worth the risk.

You can view Clare's photography work here, and follow her on Instagram here

Posted on May 23, 2018 .