I first met DJ Prestige (real name is Jamison) back in the early winter when I was researching NYC musicians to market my photography to. When I came across the in-house roster of DJ’s that spin at the Ace Hotel in Manhattan, DJ Prestige seemed to be spinning almost every single week. To get that kind of gig at a venue like Ace, you have to be on top of your game. So, I reached out to DJ Prestige to see if we could collaborate on some promo portraits for him and he was more than happy to move forward. I met with Jamison and we went over a ton of different ideas, coming from both sides of the table, and we decided to keep it simple and show who he is as an artist. The best way to do that was to create his portraits in his home where he creates all of his mixes and also head over to one of his favorite stores where he finds many of his vintage records.
We started the shoot in his home in Brooklyn. I didn’t really know what to expect of his home but had an idea based on many other apartments in Brooklyn that I’ve been to. That means small, not enough room for my lighting, and to get ready for lighting challenges. I was very happy when I walked through his front door to find much more space than expected and was even able to fit my 69″ Octabank in the corner of his record room. It was tight but we got it in there. The portrait above was created with that 69″ Octabank just out of frame to camera right. I used a panoramic stitching technique that I’ve learned from Art Streiber and Joey L.. It was my first time using this technique and I’m pretty happy with the results.
In any DJ’s space where he creates his music, you would expect to find hundreds (thousands even) of records. DJ Prestige’s room was packed with an amazing collection of records from wall-to-wall and floor-t0-ceiling along one of the walls. The rest of his space had an equally amazing collection of original artwork by Shepherd Fairey, Jeremy Fish, and many others. I had to take a few minutes to really look around and see everything going on in that room. The portrait above has Jamison standing in front of the wall of records. I shot it with available light coming through the two windows directly across the room from him.
We then went to local store where he shops for records almost every week. Prestige has a good relationship with the owners there so we were given permission to use the store front for some portraits. I thought this worked really well for his portraits because it shows another part of his passion for music and where he goes to add to his collection. I pretty much just let him do his thing while we were there. He did some digging through crates to find his records. The small plastic record player you see by his feet in the above portrait is used to make sure that the records play well. He went through a ton of records outside the store and he left with a nice stack of records at only 25 cents each.
After diggin through some crates, we headed back to his place and created a portrait in front of his home. I had such a great time hanging out with Jamison for a couple hours, learning about his craft and talking about art and music. It was really nice to be able to keep it all very simple and shoot in a “run & gun” kind of style again. Be sure to check out DJ Prestige’s website where you can listen to some great mixes of a wide variety of music.