We all have fellow professionals we look up to. Most of them I admire & follow (in a non-stalker-ish way, of course) from a distance… well, most of them live too far away to follow in person anyway, so…
Yeah, I know, I DO sound like a stalker.
Moving on. One of those professionals I personally look up to is mr Brian DeMint, a tour de force in the world of fashion photography who, oddly enough, lives right here in Joplin missouri. Brian’s inventive & beautiful work, under the name ‘eyeworks photography’ has been featured internationally. Brian speaks at photography conventions both locally and out of our American borders, and works with models from all over the country. If you have a moment, you can view his outstanding work here.
Meeting Brian for the first time- which I did a couple of years back- is a startling thing. When you see his work, you wouldn’t expect him to be one of the humblest, most down-to-earth people you’ve met… but that’s what he is. That and he has a razor sharp sense of humor that leaves you reeling and rolling.
I’ve wanted to shoot Brian’s portrait since I met him, both for the challenge and just because he’s so interesting. It was the beginning of a thought I had, to shoot a series featuring other artists of all different mediums. I feel like with this shoot, I’ve finally gotten a jumpstart on that idea.
I got the chance to shoot Brian when a local photographers’ group collectively decided to take portraits of each other- each photog was ‘assigned’ another photog as a subject. As a side note, I had the pleasure of being shot by Angela from Artistic Expressions- maybe I’ll share an image or two from that somewhere down the line. Let’s say it was pretty ridiculous. 🙂
To banter with Brian is an experience all its’ own… as demonstrated when I was called a B**** & a w**** within the first 10 minutes… but somehow you’re never insulted by Brian’s insults because it’s all in good fun. The fun was enhanced by the presence of brian’s lovely wife Dena (who does all the hair & makeup for the models) & his aspiring photog daughter Natalie, who is holding the fan in the final shot. It’s very much a family affair, and the models are treated like family too.
I really wanted a true ‘environmental portrait’ for this- so I had to shoot Brian IN his own studio, which is a whirlwind of color, outfits, outrageous props, paintings, backdrops and more. I asked him to bring a couple of models he enjoys working with to help form the ‘background’, so the very talented models Bree & Skyler were also in on it.
Let’s start by saying a shoot with me is never all serious… so when the models were eating some sonic as we set up the shot, I told them to use their food as our initial props…
And then I brought Brian in, too…
But he had to finish his makeup before we finished the shoot (not sure how he felt being the one the makeup was being applied to).
Finally, we had everything in place… and after me taking 2+ hours to get every light PERFECT (4 lights in this shot- most I’ve ever used- aren’t I fancy?) and the composition just right, we ended up with this image- one of the pictures I am most proud of to date.
One of my favorite aspects of this image is the light that Brian himself is holding- I had him hold it to light the model directly behind him, and realized before I started shooting that I needed some barn doors (adjustable metal flaps you attach to better direct the ‘spill light’) for the light. In true innovative (he would say ghetto) fashion, he duct taped a cardboard box to the light. Perfect. That’s a little lesson to photographers everywhere…the best solution is not always the coolest looking or most expensive one. If it works, it works.
And we ended things with a simple headshot of Brian- keepin’ it classy.
Here’s a couple of outtakes to finish things out. Hope you enjoyed… stay tuned for more artist portraits down the line!
NOTE: if you want to learn more about Brian & his own work, please take a few minutes to read an interview with him conducted by my good friend lance schaubert.