About James Andre
I never planned to be a cinematographer. I had always loved being in the arts, but growing up in a middle-class family, the arts were not considered a practical or even a viable path for me. My mother valued the time she got to spend with us. She grew up fending for herself in the heart of Chicago, and her life was smaller, restricted and short lived. She embraced every moment, she thought and did what she wanted, to better her kids in the world. While my father could not deal with a family and having an autistic daughter, he only cared about money, my mother was disregarded when she was not needed anymore. This past travels within me every day, as they pervade my view of the world and how I break down a story into the vision of its cinematography.
The uncertainty battled the stormy winds of my career path to help take care of my family. It left my dreams of being in the arts kicked to the curb side while I was on a different path taking care of my brother’s children and my autistic sister. I found the prospect of being locked up as a home care worker and repetitive life very unappealing, and losing who I was as a person. I searched for what I wanted to dedicate my life to, it was almost by accident that I stumbled upon cinematography. When I went to Illinois Media School to find my direction, what was a curious diversion turned into the focus of my life. I loved the fact that not only was it a skill and that in many ways you needed to apprentice yourself to master and gain the insight into the craft. I certainly found that in Big Shoulders Digital Video Productions (where I was an intern) - they gave me the passion to focus on the art form. After Illinois Media School, I wanted to learn more, and went on to Governors State University taking more video production classes, working both in studio and out in the field.
All of this led me to the opportunities to work with fashion runway shows, American Idol, commercials that entail festivals and concerts, an on-location fashion shoot, and more. I use all of my history to analyze and decipher each creator’s visions and bring them to life. I am very grateful to be able to work with wonderful people who give me a chance to prove myself, and do what I love - seeing life through a lens and telling a story. I believe with one image you can see a lot if you just look beyond the superficial parts.