Student feature: James Rail develops his photography


Sophomore James Rail said, “It started out as a homework project [photography and videography], but it then turned into a passion and a business for me.” Photo by: Alejandro Hernandez

Alejandro Hernandez

Sophomore James Rail on his photography/videography career

On Dec. 14, Ventura High School sophomore James Rail released a short documentary about the VHS football team. Rail is a photographer and videographer, in addition to being a football player. The majority of his work focuses on VHS sports teams and the Ventura landscape. Rail said, “I have always been interested in photography/videography. Intermittently starting when I was 11 making cringey videos experimenting with filming and editing, ultimately leading up to where I am today making highlight films of sporting events around campus acquiring around 1500+ views on average.”

Sophomore James Rail said, “The popularity surrounding my videos has led me to be known as ‘James Rail productions’ around campus.” Photo taken from: @jamesrailproductions on Instagram

Rail is also known by the name “James Rail productions” and has an Instagram account of the same name that posts his work (@jamesrailproductions). Rail said, “My account began to gain popularity after posting my first football hype video in mid-November and has been steadily growing since, I felt pleased that my work was finally getting the acknowledgment that I think it deserves.”

Sophomore Jayden Gentry said, “I first met James Rail when we were both in sixth grade. I think his photography and video work is exceptional and I’m so glad he’s getting so much credit for it.”

Rail believes that his work is beneficial to the VHS community. Rail said, “[his videos and photos] bring hype around school events and encapsulate the fun moments around campus. The people who enjoy my work really inspire me to keep going and keep creating.” Recently, he has been focusing on videos rather than photos. 

When it comes to Rail’s future plans, Rail is still unsure. He said, “I’m honestly not too sure when it comes to the future. Depending on how far my photography/videography goes throughout high school it will dictate what happens further in life. If  I can be successful now, there’s a potential for me to pursue it as a career. If not, I can see myself following another career path.”

VHS head football coach Tim Garcia said, “James has a special gift when it comes to his video work. He has a great eye for detail, a good feel for emotions and a maturity level that allows him to be professional while in production. I felt James did an amazing job on the football video he produced. He did exactly what I hoped he would. In his work, he portrayed the ups and downs, the raw emotions and shared a positive experience that took place within our student-athletes here at VHS. He used social media in a positive way to represent our school. That is not done enough in today’s society.”

Rail has not yet faced any challenges to his recording of VHS sports teams. He said, “Coaches have welcomed me recording their teams. I have never had a coach question whether or not they should let me record.” Rail has covered and posted VHS soccer, basketball, football and baseball as of Feb. 5. Most recently, he has covered a girl’s basketball game.

Rail said, “I am for hire for anything. I am willing to do any video or photo project.” Rail can be contacted at his Instagram page.