A self-taught photographer, James Smart describes his studying methodology as being a digital sponge. With the use of YouTube tutorials, online articles, and continuously reviewing the work of photographers he admires, Smart has found his own place in the world of photography and continues to sharpen his technique with every shoot he does. “March 2012 was the first time I picked up a DSLR, which seemed so daunting at the time,” he recalls. “It is always interesting to look back on some of my earlier photography and see how much improvement I have made.”
With a drive towards the craft simmering in the background, it was finally a trip to Italy that sparked Smart’s interest towards professional photography. “On my travels to Europe, I began taking some images in Italy which started my obsession with photography.” This obsession has since grown, and Smart has been published in National Geographic and Australian Photography. Smart also beat 13,000 other entries to be awarded the 2015 National Geographic Photo of the Year award for his image, DIRT, which depicts the opaque thickness of an anti-cyclonic tornado in Colorado, USA.
Smart’s drive towards large and impressive weather phenomena will lead him back to America later this year, to chase severe weather systems. A trip to Iceland is also planned to photograph the silk curtain of Aurora Borealis across the skies of Iceland along with the country’s vast landscapes. Closer to home, Smart’s most recent shoot was a catalogue of the SS Maheno shipwreck on the shores of Fraser Island. “In the future, I would love to start my own gallery, whether it’s here in Melbourne or overseas. I’m looking to travel a lot more to capture stunning landscapes and weather phenomena," he says.