James Porto constructs fantastical worlds that balance the real with the unreal for advertising and editorial clients.

The photographs are sumptuously rich in texture and detail, multi-layered and thought-provoking, and are designed to challenge the viewers sense of reality. In his earlier work, James used elaborate darkroom and in-camera processes to assemble his photographs and in 1992 pioneered the use of digital tools. Working as both a photographer and retoucher, James takes responsibility for every facet of the process, from pre-production to final delivery of files, resulting in a singular vision. He works collaboratively with art directors, editors and designers to create images tailored to their specifications whether it’s the immediate read of an advertising concept or a haunting illustration of an editorial theme. James is a restless experimenter with light, a problem solver who loves a challenge, a focused, engaged director of talent and an energetic, enthusiastic, conceptual thinker.

Advertising Clients / Absolut, Adidas, American Express, AT&T Bell Helicopters, Blue Man Group, Epson, IBM Ilford, Kodak, Lockheed, Motorola, Nike, Pepsi, Radio City Rockettes, Reebok, Seagrams, Sony, Texas Instruments, Verizon.

Editorial Clients / American Photo, Business Week, ESPN, Fortune, Forbes, Glamour, GQ, New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, New York, Photo Italia, Rolling Stone. Scientific American. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Time, and Wired

The animation below details the process of layering which goes into nearly every one of James’ images. It is not uncommon for there to be as many as 100 separate images used to compose the final image.


“Porto has become one of the reigning masters of computer manipulation”

– Communication Arts