What is Four•Five•Seven?
four • five • seven was created by fashion and portrait photographer James H. Pickett as an outlet for his aviation and moving picture ventures. James is both a helicopter and airplane pilot, (ex) fashion photographer, aviation photographer, marketing and creative director and commercial visual artist. His historical fashion and portrait work can be viewed on his personal website, however we will be adding more portrait based work here in the very near future.
Aside from photography James operates the aviation creative and marketing firm; Limitless Aviation. James is available for aviation consulting and creative direction, photography and film production, flight logistics including special events transportation by airplane or helicopter, as well as cargo logistics.
How Did We Get Here?
A resume can never fully reflect an individuals experience, especially when that experience is strategically created to actually position oneself in the marketplace. Commercial art has always been part of my life, from the first time I felt at home with work, design, branding and commercial arts have been my focus. Like most individuals, when I was younger there were two things that always seemed unattainable, yet were still part of my daily daydreams as I worked in closely related fields orbiting the ultimate goal.
An early mentor of mine was heavily focused on typesetting, the psychology of color, design, type and placement. His greatest messages were to always design a product that sells, and make sure that the viewer does not have a reason to get bored, or turn away. These messages started at the type itself assuring that even subconscious fatigue wasn’t a factor. This training was invaluable when working as a grand format pre-press technician with clients like Coca Cola, Fenway Stadium, Kodak and many more.
Media dexterity, color, and brand psychology became the very core of every work day.
When you work in large printed media, the average client will send you very low resolution photographs with their artwork not understanding what is required to print at the size they desire. It was at this time that a photography hobby became part of a profession. This was the end of a dreaming era.
As a hobby I began to photograph cars and within six months my very first feature was published in a national magazine. (Modified Magazine was at the time published by Verticalscope and created a David and Goliath story in the automotive industry competing with the largest automotive titles in the world.) Six short months after my first feature article, my first cover was published and photography became a full time venture. After a few years of traveling the world for races, shooting and writing feature articles for multiple titles my largest client was bought out and shut down in one week. Without warning, my income came to a screeching halt.
To make ends meet I decided to dust off the graphic design skills and start creating websites. I became a wordpress aficionado which, combined with my typesetting and design history, made the foundation for what would eventually become the Limitless Aviation brand. It was difficult for a little while, and the camera was too far away so it was time to take the next step.
Most of my early photographic inspirations were among the world leading portrait and fashion photographers and the fantasy world of fashion creation dragged me in. It was the unlimited approach to creation and how the fashion world embraced the strange, the awkward, the ultra creative… the other. It is a world where you can pant whatever tableau you choose. At this time I took a fierce moral inventory and decided that I could not make it in that world on my current talent and skills. It was time to go back to school and learn the way of the high arts from the best professors available.
The Fashion Institute of Technology was an amazing experience. Professors that embrace the world for what it is and encourage their students to embrace conflict for creation while addressing the lack of technical ability in other schools. FIT is very heavy in its technical education, however I believe that it makes up for the lack of conceptual teaching (AAS Level) with professors that care about you, and act more like mentors. If you cared enough to try, they would go the distance to help foster your talents, and do it objectively. It was here that I also met one of the greatest mentors I have ever had, and the world is at a loss with his passing. Tom Caravaglia (1928-2014) was one of the most honest men I had ever met, and if you were someone he believed in, he wouldn’t let you have a bad day. It was Tom (At his suggestion and guidance) that led me to transfer to Parsons The New School for Design. After six years as a professional photographer I now know, I didn’t know how to be a photographer, or a professional artist until my time at Parsons.
Art and photography wasn’t enough. It is the core of visual presentation and conceptual art knowledge is certainly as important, if not more important than technical, but you still have to understand your client… even when your client is a group, multiple groups, multiple cultures, multiple age groups or simply one person. While at FIT and Parsons, I chose to focus every spare moment on sociology, social psych, and marketing.
As photographers, artists, designers, even branding professionals we are still nothing without a client, and to have a client, one must ultimately understand society and the marketplace in which they operate. In the time prior to school, and during school I was a relentless progression machine, focusing all of my work on fashion, connecting with people in the industry, expanding my network and constantly refining my ability. The more I understood what the fashion industry was, the deeper I networked, and the more integrated I became, the more I realized it was not where I wanted to be. This dream had become a reality with things published in magazines like Vogue, Glamour, Elle, etc. and connections at the highest level and the truth came to pass… It just wasn’t for me. The social politics alone is enough to weigh a person down.
So here I am standing at a crossroads, high level professional photographer with many publishing credits, magazines, TV, museums, a history in printing, illustration, design, psychology, conceptual art, marketing and I just turned my back on one of my life long dreams because it was simply too political. By sheer coincidence it was right here that someone stuck me in the seat of a helicopter and the fulfillment of another life long dream had begun.
While continuing to work on design and marketing projects, and an occasional high profile shoot that I couldn’t say no to, I became the marketing director for a flight school and charter operator. There was a tremendous re-brand done under my direction starting with the modernization of the logo and continuing throughout every printed material and web presence the company had.
- Parsons The New School, Photography (Marketing & Social Psychology), BFA
- Fashion Institute of Technology, Photography (Marketing & Sociology), AAS
- Ikon, Windows 2000 MCSE
- Commercial Pilot, Rotorcraft Helicopter
- Private Privileges, Airplane Single Engine Land
- Commercial UAS
- Advanced Ground Instructor
- Certified Flight Instructor; Rotorcraft Helicopter (Candidate)
- Aerial Coordinator, Multiple Productions
- Director of Photography, Multiple Productions
- Freelance Editorial & Advertising Photographer, 2002-present
- Owner, Limitless Aviation LLC
- Owner, Limitless Aviation fixed wing flight school
- Marketing Manager and Brand Strategist, Independent Helicopters LLC
- DP, Aziz and Cucher
- Beauty Photographer, Upstate Fashion Magazine, April 2007
- Independent Instruction, 2004–Present, Private Lessons in general photography and basic studio lighting techniques.
- Freelance writer, 2002–2008, Automotive editorial
- Freelance Graphic designer, 2000-2008
- Prepress Technician, 1999-2004
Current Market Integration
- Aviatrix Life, Founder
- Flightflix, Brand Ambassador
- Stephan/H Flight Suits, Brand Ambassador
- Pilots Survival Guide, In progress Book
- Flight Is Life Podcast, In progress
2018 Gold Addy Award; Alfa Romeo (Director of Photography)
2014 Paul Shapiro Sociology Award
2012 Silver Addy Award; Naturtint Hair (Photographer; Full Page)
2012 Silver Addy Award; Naturtint Hair (Photographer; Campaign)
2008 Hasselblad Masters Semi Finalist
2014, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg Russia
2014, Milk Gallery, New York, New York
2012, Albany Museum of History and Art
2008, Albany Center Gallery Photo Regional
2007, Romaine Brooks Gallery, The Erotica Show
2007, Exposed Gallery, Lens Gumbo
2006, Exposed Gallery, Equus Vita
2006, Exposed Gallery, Foto Flora
2005, Lens Gumbo Redux
2005, Lens Gumbo
Editorial Feature Stories: (Titles only, full list available on request)
Vertical Magazine, Current Contributor
Heliweb Magazine, Current Contributor
Tattoo Dimension (Italy)
Black Enterprise Magazine
Modified Luxury & Exotic
Turbo and High Performance