J A M E S R I C E
James Rice is an Indiana-based documentary photographer whose roots in photography go back to the days of black and white film in the late 1950's. His father was a civil engineer and his mother was an aspiring artist who introduced him to photography when he was 6 years old. For the next three years, he was either taking photographs or sitting in the floor of the living room surrounded by hundreds of black and white photographs taken by his mother. When he was 9 years old, he gave his mother a goodbye kiss and left the house to get on the school bus. Moments after he left, an intruder entered the home and shot his mother to death and also shot his father, who barely survived but was crippled for life. His mother was only 31 years old when she died.
"I figure when I was born, she was the first person to give me a kiss. I also figure when she died, I was the last person to have given her a kiss. I went to live with my grandparents while my father recovered, and in the midst of all the grief, my camera and all my photographs were lost. It was a long time before I would seriously pick up a camera again --- but eventually I was able to return to my roots and once again a camera found its way into my hands."
James credits Los Angeles-based photographer Craig Semetko for helping him rediscover his roots in black and white photography. "I accidentally discovered Craig Semetko's work in a video created by Konstantin Adenauer, and when I did, it broke down walls and barriers that had existed for 40 years, and catapulted me back into that living room floor with all the black and white photographs taken by my mother.
"My goal is to document the ordinary moments of life that we too often take for granted that are simply part of the human condition. I try to capture not only the authenticity of the ordinary moment, but the precise moment when the ordinary has a touch of magic associated with it. Most of my urban work has taken place on the streets of Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Asheville, and New Orleans. For many years, I have also been documenting the widespread rural decay that is occurring throughout America. There is a quiet rural catastrophe that is resulting in a significant degradation of the quality of life in small towns and counties. There is both great sadness and strange beauty associated with the loss."
James is inspired by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Vivian Maier, Peter Turnley, and of course, Craig Semetko.
James has published three books, "Second Look", "Chicago Avenue", and "Real Cuba". He has had his photographs exhibited at the Los Angeles Center for Photography in Los Angeles, as well as the Rangefinder Gallery in Chicago. James' photographs have been published in Leica Fotographie International (LFI) magazine as well as LFI's online Gallery.
Viewfinder Magazine, a quarterly journal of LHSA (the International Leica Society) featured one of James' photographs from Havana, Cuba on the cover of Volume 51, Issue 2 in July, 2018. That issue also included a feature story titled "Real Cuba" from James' book of the same name.