Putting the cart before the horse

Putting the cart before the horse

< Back to Articles | Topics: Member Profile | Contributors: Pam Sullivan | Published: October 2, 2023

A few well-worn expressions come to mind when speaking with James Ingram, of Jive Photographic Productions; among them, three stand out: learn to roll with the punches; adapt or die; and do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

The Halifax photographer/videographer, in business for over 20 years, says he was never a good student; that is, until he picked up a camera.

“I was an enormously bad student. I went through high school and didn’t know what to do. I reluctantly went to Mount Saint Vincent and got a degree, but still directionless,” Ingram says. “And then at 25 my girlfriend (now wife) gave me a camera and I couldn’t put it down.”

Ingram says he'd never reacted to anything so strongly, and knew, from that moment, what he wanted to do with his life.

After enrolling in and completing an NSCC photography program, in the late 90s Ingram says he found an office/studio in the Roy building and started working in the very lucrative world of the big agencies.

“Back in the late 90s-early 2000s there were tonnes of agencies. Big ones like Bristol. There were also a lot of national clients here at that time, like Bell Aliant and Moosehead, and on and on,” he says.

Working primarily as a solo agent, in 2013-14, says Ingram, he started to pick up on the popularity of video, thanks to its new accessibility and affordability.

“It used to be hard to get into video because of the high cost and level of skill needed, but then that all went away with the advent of digital,” he says.

With a love of movies, and a “why not” attitude, Ingram decided to take the plunge into video, and ten years on, it represents the larger part of his business — with Jive handling video production at all levels. Between the photographic side of things, and, increasingly, the video element, Ingram’s fortunes were on the rise. Then March 2020 hit.

“During the pandemic, we thought we were going to have to work as Walmart greeters,” he says. “Nothing wrong with that, obviously, but we decided we had to hunker down and do what entrepreneurs do best...improvise.”

In this case, improvisation came in the form of a podcast — one of many born out of the forced inactivity and job losses of COVID.

The idea, he says, was to get out in front of people who might hire them, and in January 2022, Make My Logo Bigger podcast made its digital debut. Currently on Apple podcasts, Ingram speaks to other creative professionals about “...life and the perks and struggles of working with art.”

The particular punch delivered by COVID has turned into a blessing for Ingram and Jive Photographic Productions, and work is once again on the uptick.

“We seem to have a lot of work coming and going and I’m looking at a new hire based on the strength of our podcast and the social media contracts we’re also doing,” he says.

One thing which seems sure is that some cliched expressions, as worn as they may be, still hold true for those individuals daring enough to keep getting up and adapting to changing and challenging times. And that, in a nutshell, is James Ingram.

“As someone who works for yourself, you’re just like, okay, those opportunities have lessened, so where are the other opportunities? You just go find them,” he says. “I’m usually the one who puts the cart before the horse and then tries to figure it out, but so far, that’s worked.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Member Profile

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