Name: JAMES DUNN
Location: THE COTSWOLDS
Mission: CAFFEINE FUELLED ART
There aren’t very many people that I still see from when I was at school. I had a really good group of friends and thanks to the power of Facebook have been able to keep in touch with them. James Dunn is one of those people. We left school together in 2006 and haven’t seen each other since but have kept an open channel of communication. In fact this blog probably would never have happened if it weren’t for his emotional support, words of wisdom, and last minute proof reading!
James always had a passion for taking photographs, mainly of his friends at school. It was at the University of Durham whilst working for the student newspaper that photography took on a new angle. “I would write a piece for the paper and then photograph something to go with it,” said James “it wasn’t until I started taking photos of things that had to appeal rather than just chronicling a moment that I realised I loved taking photographs”.
Working for the student newspaper helped James to find his feet within journalism and in order to carry on writing he started his blog Coffee and Countries (named after two of his favorite things) in July 2010. “Blogging and writing for newspapers is mainly about about compressed writing, fitting the words into a small enough piece that will keep people interested long enough.” A project that began as a creative outlet has now transformed into so much more.
After finishing his degree and completing an internship in London, James decided it was time to escape for a while. His travels took him back to India where he had taught English to Tibetan Monks as a fresh faced 17 year old. He walked into the offices of a Tibetan newspaper and inquired if they needed any help. He was shown to a desk and that was that, his new job had begun.
James was able to combine his love for the country as well as his passion for photography. He lived and worked in Dharamsala, along side Tibetans living in Exile. He has long since seen this community as his inspiration. It was whilst working here that he had his proudest moment to date; photographing His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama. “The first few times I did it the photographs were useless as my hands had been shaking too much!”
When I asked James what inspires him he said this: “I live by the motto “freedom through words” and this is where my inspiration comes from. What I mean by that is that freedom can be made not through violence but through the power of the written word. Words have the ability to inspire others and to influence how they view something they may have known nothing about. When I write for the Tibet Post International I hope people reading about the plight of the Tibetans will be moved to do something, to protest, to speak out for those who cannot. For my blogging it’s the freedom of escaping the everyday and for a few minutes laughing at something I’ve written or thinking about some of the ideas my posts are about. For the photography, it’s about escaping into the art. It may not be freedom through words for photography but rather a freedom through a lack of words. People who have brought my work say they can look at a photo and go to the place captured, be it a landscape photograph of the Himalayas or something simple like the sun or a battered old gate.”
While the stunning beauty of the Himalayas and the incredible Tibetan people will always be an inspiration, the Cotswolds had remained James’ muse and it was here that he held his first exhibition in 2012 at the Burford Gallery. To date James has had his worked featured in Cotswold Life, National Student, World New Network and Tibet Post International. If you would like to see some more of his work then there is an upcoming show at a little gallery called Artist in Residence (AIR) in the town of Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire. Currently he is back in India and is hoping to have some more exhibitions in the UK when he returns later on in the winter.