March 2016 Featured Dance Photographer

James Cook - James Cook Photography / NCPhotoGuy

James Cook – James Cook Photography/NCPhotoGuy

This month’s featured photographer is James Cook of James Cook Photography located in Raleigh, NC. We interviewed James this past month and we know you’ll enjoy the interview and gallery.

Business Name:  James Cook Photography / NCPhotoGuy
City & State: Based in Raleigh, NC
Owner: James Cook
Phone: 919-418-3885
Website: www.ncphotoguy.com

DA: Why did you get into Photography?

JC: I began my interest in photography in 1997.  It started as a “free time” hobby.  I fell in love with the vision and the way something could be captured, created and frozen in time.  Most recently, I began taking photos of dancers.  Not quite 3 years ago (July 2013), I took my first photo of a dancer.  I immediately fell in love with the potential, the creativity, the work, the form and the art of each dancer.

DA: What is your favorite location to shoot?

JC: I love almost anywhere outdoors.  I’m not sure I can pick one location that is a favorite.  Although I love NYC, every city or town has someplace beautiful that can provide beautiful backdrops for photos. I have been blessed and very fortunate to see many cities and locations while taking photos of dancers.

DA: Who inspires you as a photographer?

JC: I have thought quite a bit about this question.  I think the inspiration I get as a photographer comes from the young dancers who work countless hours to perfect their art.  There are many dancers who inspire me not only as a photographer, but as a person.

  • The dancer, battling cancer and dancing while receiving chemo treatments
  • The dancer, dancing 30+ hours a week with a major heart defect
  • The dancer, at 11 years old has dreams, goals, and a plan that she works for every day
  • The dancer, struggling with cruel bullying every day in the studio, yet pushing thru
  • The dancer, showing up sick to a photoshoot because she made a commitment
  • The dancer, giving up weekends, summer vacations, and time with friends because of dance

DA: Do you have a personal favorite shot (or two)?

JC: I have several favorite photos.  Photos that were taken at basic/generic locations that capture the simple complexity of just the dancer.  I love it when the dancer and pose seem to come together perfectly with the setting supplied.

DA: If you could have the perfect photoshoot…who and where?

JC: As cliché or cheesy as this may sound…the perfect photoshoot is with any dancer at the location we select at that moment.  Perfection is not the same thing to everyone.  With all the styles, genres and nature of dance, perfection is in that moment. I do have locations that I would love to shoot:  Alcatraz, Route 66 in Monument Valley and Sydney Opera House. Although I do have specific dancers that I would love to work with, I absolutely love working with all dancers at all levels of dance.

DA: What is one piece of equipment that you could not live without?

JC: Aside from my camera…It would have to be my 50mm lens.

DA: Any advice to help dancers relax when having a photoshoot?

JC: I try to talk with each dancer and tell them to have fun.  If we are not having fun, it will show up in the photos.  I try to encourage them to get in the mindset of a rehearsal, competition or performance.  That is where they thrive and that is usually their happy place.

DA: How can someone get in touch with you?

JC: The absolute best way is via email:  james123cook@yahoo.com
I do respond to Direct Messages, Facebook messages, voicemail and texting.

DA: What is the best place to view your work online?

JC: My website is www.ncphotoguy.com

Social Media Info:
Instagram: NCPhotoGuy
FaceBook:  James Cook
Twitter:  NCPhotoGuy1
SnapChat:  TheNCPhotoGuy

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