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Photography as a Creative Outlet: Therapy for the Soul … the personal story of photographer James Torrenzano

artist profiles Jun 27, 2021



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Friday’s PhotoMentorTv LIVE proves your favorite photo mentor, Lee Love, has tons more in store for you as he continues his weekly video series. 

After last week’s look at why the business of photography isn’t what you think, this week’s twist in interviewing and sharing the personal story of James Torrenzano turns into yet another refreshing surprise! 

More impressive is the insider’s look at the extraordinary photography showcasing a peek into guest James Torrenzano’s work and life. James reveals an exciting path as an artist, teacher, photographer, and art therapist. And much more. 

An enjoyable guest, James isn’t afraid to open up about personal lessons and other musings along the way. 

Photo by Lee Love of Artist Profile, James Torrenzano

Here’s a small piece of his “official” bio as a way of initial introduction: 

James Torrenzano has a master’s degree in art therapy and worked for 31 years in the Fairfax County School System in Virginia, USA. He also spent eighteen years as a faculty member at Marymount University teaching art therapy and psychology classes, and, surprise! has showman talents as a professional magician. 

As a teacher, Mr. Torrenzano crossed paths with over 5000 students. He was nominated for “Teacher of the Year” in Fairfax County Public Schools for his infectious teaching style and innovative ideas that touched each student. As a master teacher, he has lectured and enlightened people all around the country on the topic, “The Healing Power of Art.” 

Since retiring, James focuses his time on web design, photography, and video. 

Speaking of his 45-year journey in photography, James says, “It is here, inside the invisible, that I shape the light to meet the edge of form and create a symphony for the viewer.”

Photo by James Torrenzano, Lee's Favorite 

Photo Friends at Heart 

The friendship Lee and James share (along with a boatload of photo and video equipment) shines through in this warm, engaging, and informative discussion. 

Other things these gentlemen share are a genuine love of photography, insights into the relevance and importance of finding your artistic eye, and a belief that learning and improving are ongoing for photographers. Sounds all good to me! 

Like Lee, James talks about how the best photography is a study of lighting, and he shares a few tips and tricks for a truly unique and rare taste in “integrative” photography. He speaks of the photographer as a part of, to the extent of immersed within, his work, rather than as a separate entity simply looking on. Thought-provoking, right? 

Create a Symphony for the Viewer

Each person or place I photograph, I envision how light interacts with the form. What light will show the spirit of the image, how color shapes emotion and how the negative space plays with movement. Each of these forms an interplay that creates an essence of an image for the viewer to be swept away by the possibilities.” ~James Torrenzano

One thing you’ll find in watching the video is the intriguing approach James takes in capturing more than a single moment in time with his photography by exploring further. 

You see, his photos go even deeper. They take you places. Perhaps along the train track of life, as Lee points out. But, imagine getting lost in a photograph; the appeal of fine details, colors, curiosity, and the story you find within the story, demanding more of you—stimulating thought and discussion and wonder. These profound images are all taken from a view of real life. 

This shot, in particular, struck me while James explains the feeling of a picture “you can just hang out in for a while”:

Photo by James Torrenzano

Elements of Art Several Ways Over

One of the things most noticeable in all of the examples Lee shows of James’s photography is a rich mixture of the elements Lee talks about for mastering the language of art. Expertly weaving elements to tell a story vividly is one thing James excels at, offering line, color, contrast, form, and others mingled purposefully for maximum effect. 

Evoking feelings and conversations are winning results for the accomplished photographer. Learning to recognize these techniques is the first step to including them in your work. 

Listening to James detail so many noteworthy tidbits when talking about some of the photos he shares leads to a philosophical discussion at times. (I told you his photography goes deeper!) He nudges Lee and viewers to think about the implications of time, the gift of life, and the cherished moments shared by people. 

Human and relatable in his photo art and spirit, I think you’ll agree this lesson in photography is so much more. Because James and Lee offer secrets to photography, both technical and artistic, along with stimulating conversation you won’t want to miss. 

What you’ll hear, and I agree, is the joy you feel in creating a compelling and hopefully thought-provoking story elevates your artistic ability and propels you forward in your craft. 

What’s your take? 

by Sue-Ann Bubacz

NOTE: John Mahoney, host of The Streaming Alchemy Show, will interview Lee Love LIVE on July 16th, at 2p EDT if you want to check it out.