James is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At an early age, he left Pittsburgh, spending most of his childhood living in the American Southwest. As a young adult, James moved to Northeastern Ohio, and as a part of his undergraduate studies, discovered photography in the art history program at Kent State University. His initial guidance in photography came from Charles Brill, a photographer recognized for his photo documentaries of indigenous peoples of the subarctic and northeastern woodlands.

In 2012, James left a successful career in information development to pursue his lifelong love of photography. It is through photography that James continues to develop a heightened sense of the self by examining conceptual ideas that relate to time, renewal, the interaction between humans and nature, and its consequence in the natural balance. In 2021, James completed a two-year mentoring program in expressive photography with Rafael Rojas, a Swiss-Spanish artist photographer. It was an enriching experience that enabled him to develop a deep understanding about the use of photography as an artistic method of expression. In addition to his lifelong love of photography and the arts, James was awarded a Doctorate in Psychology from Saybrook University in 2017. James lives in Morgan Hill, California.