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Interview with Jim Jordan | GBPW Episode 136

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Sometimes, I do things just to shock people, just to get an emotion out of them in a loving and kind way. Sometimes, you just have to rattle people and shake them up.

Jim Jordan

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Celebrity photographer Jim Jordan is the star of this week’s episode! Jim went through many tragic events before rising to the top as a photographer. Today, he takes photographs of A-list celebrities, discovers models through his agency, creates videos, manages magazines, and the list goes on!

We talk about:

  • Jim Jordan’s incredible life story, from living in a park to becoming one of the top celebrity photographers in the world
  • Why photographers should run towards their fears
  • How to create real emotion and depth in your photos

& much more!

I’m confident that you’ll be touched by Jim’s story. As someone who comes from humble beginnings, he knows what it’s like to struggle as a photographer. He opens up a lot in this episode and shares many valuable tips for aspiring and professional photographers. Whether you’re interested in the glamour of celebrity photography or the beauty of new beginnings, this episode is for you.

Here is a preview of our conversation with Jim Jordan.

Q: You went through many drastic changes in your life, one of which was leaving the US for an extended period of time. What happened when you moved to Milan?

Jim Jordan: I bought a one way ticket to Milan. I lived in the park for six months, and I thought when I get off the plane of Milan it’s going to be like Disneyland. Models everywhere! Lights, cameras, and fashion shows. Everything’s going to be glamorous!

It was in the middle of winter. I brought my skateboard and it was cobblestone streets everywhere. I was stuck at the airport two weeks before my 16th birthday. It was a country where I didn’t speak the language in the middle of winter. I ended up living in the park. At that time, I was awoken to the reality that it wasn’t always the fantasy that we have in our heads, but I hoped for those things.

I didn’t see any models. There were no cell phones. I had no idea where the model agents or agencies were. I was finding my way through the streets, and I did whatever I could just to survive.

Months into my stay there, I met some Russian models in a coffee shop. I asked them where the model agencies were. They were like, “Oh, just down the street.” I went into the agency and I had my black and white contacts with me that I had been shooting in California.

The owner of the agency came out. His name was Luigi. He started speaking English. He asked me how he could help. I told him that I had been living in the park for five months and didn’t know anyone in Italy. I asked for help.

That was a turning point. My life changed. Luigi put his arm around me and said, “I’ll help you. You come in the mornings at 10 o’clock. Why don’t you do makeup and hair? Your pictures are beautiful.”

Q: What are your thoughts on fear?

Jim Jordan: My best advice to people is that we need to run through the fire and the fear of our life. We have to run towards it. I always say to myself, “I want to run towards the things I’m most afraid of in my life” because on the other side of that fear – once you run through it – there’s miracles.

It’s those voices and that fear that want to keep you away because on the other side, the miracle is in every area.

Q: What advice would you give to photographers?

Jim Jordan: We all have our own plan – God’s plan – for our journeys and our careers. I want to tell people and encourage photographers that it’s not about how technical you are. It’s about what you see and it’s about pushing that button at the right time.

Don’t get lost in the technical side of being a photographer because it steals your vision away. You want to be creative. It’s important to know how to expose and set the camera right, but it’s really, really important to not get so caught up in the technical. Be in the moment with everything.

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Taya Iv<span class="bp-verified-badge"></span>
Taya Iv
Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.
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