Designer Checkout: Jimmy Hayes
Jimmy Hayes is a photographer in California’s Napa Valley. His current status as the wine industry's pre-eminent visual storyteller follows an incredible career arc that includes leadership roles at three-star Michelin restaurants and some of the most iconic wineries in America.
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Behind the camera, Jimmy uses his extensive, first-hand experience in and around wine to capture immersive images that showcase a true insider’s perspective. Jimmy has photographed a host of California’s iconic wine estates – Kistler, Dalla Valle, Schrader, Favia and many others. As an artist, Jimmy strives to take moody, minimal, structural, pictures showcasing forms and negative space as strong, non-traditional subjects; he actively avoids traditional themes and compositions. Whether shooting for a client, or making photographs for himself, Jimmy holds himself to a core philosophy – every finished image must stand alone as an individual, complete piece of art.
Jimmy’s work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. His first book – Veritas – is a monograph culled from 6 years documenting the California wine industry, Veritas is a collection of images curated to present the soulful and at times unromantic reality of the industry as it exists everyday, not only on its best days.
What is your 'why'?
I believe in the power of experiencing emotion. Great pictures make us feel so deeply about the world around us, about ourselves, and about our society.
Why a career in art/design?
Well, I officially came to it later in my career after working in other capacities for lots of amazing people. I realized that I’m at my best working for myself.
What makes good design?
Such a great question. For me it’s harmony. When it’s right, you just know it. My 11 year-old son is a pretty awesome pianist, and this past year we bought an acoustic piano for the house. New pianos have a 'settling period' and they need to be tuned regularly for the first year or so before they hold their pitch. Whenever it falls slightly out of tune, the notes resonate with this really uncomfortable vibration – like unwelcome guests taking up space in the room. Even if you know nothing about music, you can just tell it feels all wrong. But once the piano gets tuned and the pitch is perfect again, the sound fills the space differently – there’s an effortlessness to the music and the energy it creates, a profound invisibility...
Who (or what) influences you?
I’m influenced - maybe 'inspired by' is better - people who create beautiful, powerful images about the human experience - Mary Ellen Mark, Gordon Parks, Robert Frank to name a few.
To me, the most talented photographers are the ones who show the determination, resilience, and grit of people dealing with even the most challenging situations. They deftly coax out the hope and possibility instead of the despair, often through the smallest details of an expression, or a posture.
What impact do you want to make on the world of design?
Easy – I’d like to donate more of my artistic energy and output in support of certain socially and culturally-minded businesses and communities, while also inspiring professionals in other industries to do the same.
What advice do you have for future creatives?
Take chances and push yourself.
What are your 2 favorite pieces in the Autotype Marketplace?
As a vintage truck owner myself, I obviously drool over anything that ICON does.
What are some of your favorite, well-designed items we don't offer, but should?
In general - stuff for the hi-fi setup!
Pay it forward...recommend another artist / designer / craftsperson we should profile on Autotype.
Ryan Bailey! He’s a great friend and super talented sommelier that started a wine-focused tableware company called Portae. Their first piece is a beautiful modern wine cradle that is handmade in Los Angeles.