Travel and cultural documentary photographer Jacob James usually photographs exotic places and people. However, due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the lockdowns that were imposed, he was stuck at home. A planned trip to Japan was cancelled. ‘In the early stages of the lockdown, we weren’t allowed to leave the house for more than an hour.’ He discovered a new appreciation for his surroundings, the Hollies Park in Leeds in England, and came up with an idea for a new project. With the LUMIX G100, he made a Home Cooking story with his girlfriend Sophie Kingsley, who is a model and chef. ‘It’s a great camera for video blogging and photography, the ideal camera for people who want to create content on the go.’
‘The original idea was to go to Japan to make a travel film with the LUMIX G100. But then Corona struck. The lockdown restrictions tightened until travelling was no longer an option. Suddenly we were stuck at home. Normally, I never take a camera with me when I’m in my own neighbourhood because there isn’t much in my surroundings that inspires me. So, the lockdown was problematic for me.’ But it was also a time to get creative. ‘When you’re challenged, you can come up with new ideas.’
Sophie regularly heads into nature to pick herbs and other fresh ingredients. ‘Hollies Park is part of a former estate, which is a public park now. Besides woodland, it contains formal gardens, with non-native plants. It is widely rumoured that the author J.R.R. Tolkien, known for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, spent time here, and it may have inspired his vision of Middle Earth.
For our home cooking story, Sophie went into the forest to pick wild ingredients like garlic. We spent two weeks filming this project, waiting for gaps in the weather. It was a nice experience to work at home and with the small compact and lightweight G100 camera. With a schedule dictated by the weather, I learned to be more patient, finding beautiful moments in the small details.… I know every corner now of the park now.’
The LUMIX G100 was perfect for the job. ‘This camera is designed for video first. It’s great for creating your own content, also on the go, or sharing your daily routines to inspire others, for example, through a vlog. It helps you to stay connected, even in a world in lockdown. Size wise, it’s like a small compact camera, but with the benefits of interchangeable lenses and some unique handy features.’
In addition to the Home Cooking vlog, Jacob ventured outside to photograph the deserted streets in Leeds. ‘I photographed the city after the restrictions were eased slightly. It was really strange to see the empty streets. It was also nice though, I didn’t feel the pressure of all the people around me rushing to get somewhere. I could really take my time and look at the city with fresh eyes. Things that I’d never noticed before due to the busy streets really stood out. Experiencing this, in a place that’s so familiar, really inspired me.
I have a new appreciation for my surroundings.’
That being said, Jacob can’t wait for the restrictions to be lifted, so that he can travel again. ‘Whether far from home or just around the corner, the G100 is a perfect companion to capture and share the beauty and colourful world we live in. It will be wonderful to once again reconnect with other cultures through photography and share my experiences as online videos. All with one versatile little camera.’
Travel and cultural documentary photographer Jacob James has a passion for immersing himself in new cultures and experiences. His work, he explains, revolves around capturing the human side of life for people across the globe, “Whether the nuances in different cultures that make us all unique, or the simple, instinctual emotions that deep down we all have in common.” Aiding Jacob in his work – through which he aims to inspire people “to see the world as a much smaller and more exciting place” – is Panasonic’s LUMIX camera range. “I’ve been amazed at the flexibility and enjoyment I’ve rediscovered in using these smaller cameras,” he says.