Portraiture

In Residence

Photographer Jodie James highlights that beneath every professional or key worker role, there is a human being.

I shot this personal project to try and get back to enjoying photography and work out what it is I like to shoot. Being a volunteer firefighter myself, it became particularly apparent during Covid that all these front line people that were out ‘saving lives’ and helping deal with the pandemic were just everyday people. This is something I think a lot of people often forget. Sometimes, when we are at a job, I will take my uniform off and often members of the public are so surprised that I am wearing normal clothes (or even my pyjamas if it’s the night!) underneath. That’s when I remind them that our brigade is all volunteers, and we have come from home or work to the fire station.

I think of this a lot for doctors, nurses and police especially; with some of the things they have to deal with, it is often forgotten that they are normal people too. That is why I liked the idea of showing them in their homes, as a reminder that behind the uniform they are everyday people. They do all the same things we do – watch tv, cook dinner, go to the supermarket, yet when they go to work and put on their uniform, they are expected to be able to take whatever is thrown at them.

The decisions people make, whether it’s not wearing a seatbelt or harming a family member, has an impact on the people that are bought in to help – often a hugely negative impact. This project is my way of highlighting that beneath the professional role, there is a human being.

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The photographer

Jodie James

Award-winning photographer, Jodie James, always has her eye fixed on the viewfinder in search of the stories between the frames. It’s in these moments that she finds the real images that make her one of New Zealand’s most sought-after editorial and commercial photographers.

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