James Bristow is a New York City based actor and model with a drive to succeed unlike anyone I’ve met in quite some time. I first met James when I photographed his roommate and long time friend Tavish O’Keefe (see Tavish’s photos here). We had some time to talk about what he has been working on since his move to NYC from Alaska and what he would like to accomplish in his career in 2012. Bristow knew that his head shots and creative portraits were not exactly “good quality” and wanted to schedule a shoot with me after seeing my work. A few weeks after first meeting James, I had him in front of my camera and the following portraits were created for him. We decided to shoot a variety of looks for his modeling portfolio and his website.
Our shoot started in James’ friend’s Brooklyn apartment. The light that poured into that room was simply beautiful, so I decided to only shoot available light with a little help from a silver reflector held by my assistant Dan. The portraits that were created in the apartment were to show natural and relaxed moments.
Our art director for James’ shoot kept an eye on us the entire shoot. Although she had four legs and drank water from a small bowl, she was proving to be hard to impress.
After our art director left the shoot to chase her toy around for a while, we decided it was time to head out to the back patio of the apartment. I really enjoyed shooting out there mainly because of the simple concrete and metal shapes the fencing created along with the buildings in the background. I asked James to bring along his coffee so that he can keep warm and also bring an extra element to his portraits. While I photographed James, Dan held the Elinchrom 39″ deep octabank just out of frame to get some light on James’ face.
In the portrait above, the light is being held over my head and in front of James’ face.
We then headed out to the streets of Wiliamsburg, Brooklyn for some more environmental portraits. Although it was very cold out, I’m quite happy with the above photo. I love the movement in the portrait with James trying to close his coat along with the smile and expression in his eyes. It’s simple and strong at the same time.
We spent about an hour or so outdoors, walking around Williamsburg in the freezing cold. Eventually we came across a small coffee shop and immediately headed in to warm up. This final portrait was captured just before we left the shop. I was getting ready to leave but saw some great reflections in the window of the shop. I simply asked James to sit near the window and I’ll take care of the rest.