What I love the most about photography is that it is a creative outlet for me. Like graphic design, there are rules, but they can be broken. I find it so rewarding when someone looks at my photos and it takes them to another dimension. Social Media is a great way of sharing my unique perspective of the world and seeing the beauty in the every-day.

My name is James Sandquest and I am a Graphic Designer. I am from Bristol, England, and I was brought to Cork originally working for Apple in their software department. Since then, I met my now-wife Ciara, and the rest is history. I continued to pursue my freelance design, and then landed a job with B2B Signs in 2016.

I chose my career in secondary school, when my art teacher said that my style is so Graphic that it would be a waste of my talents to do anything else. I come from a creative family of Architects (Dad), Music Production (Brother), Desktop Publishing & Graphic Design (Sister), and Craft Genius (Mum). So naturally, I grew up using both Apple & Microsoft products. I also have loved brands from an early age, so it was a natural transition for me. My Dad was a huge inspiration growing up, especially when visiting the buildings he designed in Bristol City, UK. He sadly passed away when I was 11 from a tragic accident, but his creative legacy lives through me to this day.

I have been interested in photography ever since I got my hands on a disposable camera as a child! I didn’t realise until I was a teenager that I am a visual learner, so the practice of photography resonates with me.

I have a lot of photographic inspirations:

  • @muno.explore – he is based in Dublin, has some class techniques, and always brings a fresh perspective of Dublin.
  • @natgeoadventure and @gopro – these photographers are just on another level; they inspire me to get out and explore the world!
  • I would recommend Read this if You Want to Take Good Photographs by Henry Carroll. This is a fantastic, quick read that will go over all the basics with key case studies about why certain photos are so famous – whether it’s the Fibonacci sequence, ISO, or rule-of-thirds, you will not be able to look at photos in the same way again!

I’ve always been interested in Landscape Photography, and I dabble in nature when I discover rare sightings – like Man O’ War jellyfish washed up from a storm to an East Cork beach. I adore beachscapes and mountain-scapes, and showing a different perspective.

I like to use my Canon SLR, but often when I’m out and about, I will use my iPhone 11. I bought a GoPro a few years ago, and that has been unreal for hikes and swims.

I sometimes use special effects software with my photography, but it really depends. I try to naturally recreate the lighting on the day using Lightroom – I feel very confident after 12 years of Amateur Photography with the use of Photoshop and Lightroom, which is very handy for editing photos. What your eye sees vs. what your camera takes can be quite a contrast. That being said, some days you take a photo and nothing needs to be changed. I enjoy editing photos in such a way to share a glimpse of the numinous feeling I was experiencing. I do find the #nofilter movement ironic – as a Designer, I have trained myself in attention-to-detail, and most times they have made a slight tweak. But I think this is okay and all part of the fun of the creative process!

I have a few favourite photographs, but I think my most recent is the Jellyfish on Ballybrannigan Beach, East Cork. I see the shape of a hedgehog, but what do you see? The vibrant tropical colours contrasting with Ireland’s Ancient East earthy sandy tones just don’t feel real, but there were literally hundreds of them. I was in awe of how you could see through it, so I carefully lead on the ground to stabilise my iPhone 6S at the time and capture the sun shining through.

A have a few future goals with my photography. Once the pandemic is over, I can’t wait to go travelling with my wife and do a shoot together. I would also like to try out more underwater shoots and practise my timelapse. Watch this space: @jamessandquest on Instagram.

I see many similarities between my photography and my job – photography and graphic design go hand-in-hand. As a designer, my goal is to turn chaos into clarity. I have to take complex information and present it in a clear and informative way. After a photoshoot, I will often take 50 – 100 + photos, and I will review all of them and narrow it down to my top 3, and I will only post a couple. The main difference is that Photography is my space to unwind and show my more artistic side. Design is artistic too, but mainly with helping to solve people’s problems.

My advice to anyone interested in photography is to just go for it! Use whatever tools you have. You don’t necessarily have to have the best equipment to get good shots. It’s a creative muscle – the more you practice, the better you get. Start with a simple goal; go for a walk and observe shapes and light. Play around with angles and learn the basics. Open the camera on your phone and take a photo of this magazine, notice the cool lines that appear from an RGB screen.

There is always more than tech. We live in a very lonely insular culture (the “I Generation” as some people call it – it’s all about “me, myself and I”, as De La Soul raps). But our human nature is nurtured by collaboration; it makes us better designers and photographers. It’s important to share, as sharing inspires us to work to the best of our ability. When we work together and support each other’s creative passions, we subconsciously cultivate an environment of progressive change, thus improving the technology that surrounds us every day. Every personality has its own creative perspective, and it’s a privilege to work in this industry.

Be sure to follow James and his photography on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamessandquest.

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