An Eye For Beauty
Maxim|November - December 2020
A candid interview with Russell James, one of the photography world’s leading lights
By Jared Paulstern

In a career spanning nearly three decades, Australian-born photographer Russell James has photographed the world’s most beautiful women, its most prominent people, and its most arresting landscapes. His photographs have appeared in major publications around the world, and his collaborations with them and global brands including Victoria’s Secret have featured icons such as Gal Gadot, Barbra Streisand, Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Adriana Lima, Gisele Bundchen, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Candice Swanepoel, and many more.

James traces his creative influence back to his roots deep in remote Western Australia. Seeing “the arts as a vital common denominator,” he founded Nomad Two Worlds, a nonprofit organization that “provides grants within the arts to people from marginalized communities who otherwise might not have the opportunity,” among other charitable endeavors. James’ awards include the Hasselblad Masters Award for “Fashion” in 2008, the West Australian of the Year Award for “Art and Culture” in 2013, Harper’s Bazaar China’s “Fashion Photographer of the Year” in 2018, and the Australian Fashion Laureate “International Impact Award” in 2018. There are six internationally published books of his work, including his first monograph, Russell James, in 2008 and his most recent Collector’s Edition, published in 2019.

His latest project, Belong, is a traveling exhibition of more than 30 photographs that were taken in the remote Kimberley Ranges of West Australia, showing “the beauty, the grandeur, and the vulnerability” of this natural habitat. Several of the images feature stunning Australian-born model Bella Geminder. “Belong is born from my inability to put into words the wonders of the Earth and our fragile connection to it,” James says. “Of all the places in the world where almost no modern-day man could ever come from, this is the place where I have always felt that I most belong.”

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