James Houston was born in 1965 in Sydney, Australia. At an early age, he began to study ceramic sculpture and design at school, where he was awarded first in the state of NSW for Art in the HSC (High School Certificate). At 19 years old, shortly after leaving school, Houston held his first solo exhibition of ceramic sculpture. He was awarded an AFA (Advertising Federation of Australia) scholarship and subsequently spent three years as an art director in Sydney and Los Angeles. While on a business trip to Tokyo in 1990, Houston bought a second-hand Nikon 35mm camera and took up photography as a hobby.
With his background in sculpture and design, Houston started photographing the naked form and developed the clean and graphic style that has become his signature. In 1993, his first photographic exhibition, “Black and Blue”, focused on the human form interacting with natural landscapes.
In 1995, the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) awarded Houston the prestigious “Highest Score Overall” in Print for his “Buried Nude” series. In subsequent years, Houston became one of Australia’s leading fashion photographers, contributing to magazines such as Australian Vogue, Italian Harper’s Bazaar, Wallpaper and Oyster. Houston also photographed the first-ever nude cover for Australian Vogue (January 1997).
Influenced by sculptors such as Henry Moore and Rodin, Houston continued to develop his unique style of bodywork and became the principal contributing photographer for Black and White Magazine. Houston shot the official calendar for the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney, which gave him the chance to work with over 150 of Australia’s leading Olympic athletes.
Houston’s first published book, RAW (Fine Arts Press / Craftsman House), sponsored by HUGO BOSS Australia, was released in October 1997, to coincide with a five-year retrospective featuring portraits and nude forms in black and white. After winning several awards for design and photography, the RAW exhibition toured Australia for a year.
In November 1999, Houston launched RAWMOVES (Fine Arts Press / Craftsman House), his second published book, exhibition, and photographic essay on Australia’s three leading dance companies. Shot in just five days, RAWMOVES went on to win several awards for photography and design. RAWMOVES launched later in London and toured Asia for a year.
In March 2000, Houston moved to New York City, where he continued to focus on beauty and bodywork. In 2002, branching out into the world of celebrity, Houston spent six months in Los Angeles, shooting for magazines including American Vogue, British Glamour, French Glamour, German Glamour and Interview. The celebrities who appreciate and request Houston’s eye for beauty include: Cate Blanchett, Jessica Alba, Elle Macpherson, Kirsten Dunst, Sheryl Crow, Christy Turlington, Hugh Jackman, Guy Pearce, Matt Dillon, Paris Hilton and Mandy Moore.
In November 2005 Houston launched his third published book ONE Yogamoves (Published by JD Publishing); a study of the yoga body as a sculptural form. All proceeds from the ONE Book & Exhibition were donated to the Australian Breast Cancer Foundation.
After six years of work, Houston launched the MOVE FOR AIDS project (www.moveforaids.com) at MILK Gallery New York in October 2006. Sponsored internationally by HUGO BOSS, the project consists of a published book (MOVE published by PowerHouse books NYC), an Exhibition and a Documentary. Houston photographed over fifty of the leading dancers of New York for the project as a way of raising much needed funds & awareness for HIV/AIDS.
Following the successful launch in New York hosted by Mr Hugh Jackman MOVE FOR AIDS then went on to launch in London in November 2006 to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Hosted by Mr David Furnish & Elle Macpherson the project raised 40,000 pounds for the Charity and was then exhibited at the Getty Image Gallery London.
The final launch was to take place in Sydney Australia late November for World AIDS Day. Attended by Sir Elton John & Mr Baz Lurman the Sydney event raised almost $300,000 and was named event of the year.
James Houston is recognized as one of the leading beauty/body photographers working in America and Europe for clients including Chanel, Clinique, Donna Karan, Gap, Givenchy Paris, HUGO BOSS, Neutrogena and Victoria’s Secret.