Fashion photographer Brandon Taelor Aviram is a master of style. We talk about his technique and how he gets such strong connections with his models. I hope you enjoy the interview!
Andreas: Tell us a bit about your background, how did you get started as a photographer?
Brandon Taelor Aviram: Every photographer has that story about who gave them their first camera or how that one teacher really made a difference. For a lot of photographers, it was about admiration of someone, Richard Avedon or what have you, but for me I kind of just fell into it, i found out that I was good at it by others telling me and what kept me going was all the positive feedback I received from online communities.
I started by posting my pictures on MySpace, and the encouragement I got from strangers who loved my work even though I was completely new to photography urged me to continue down this path. We are usually our own biggest critics, so it took that outside view to help convince me that photography was my gift. Thankfully, these days there are better site options for posting my pictures. But without my MySpace beginnings, some of my closest friends and I would never have met. And their support has been huge for me.
What equipment do you use? Any favorite lenses?
Canon 1D Mark IV, broncolor lighting,
50mm lens & hasselblad 503cw when I feel like shooting film ;)
You have one of the best looking portfolio websites I’ve seen, but you are also very active on Flickr and Tumblr. How important is your presence on the web for your career?
Thank you! Of course being on the web is necessary for people to discover my work. But truthfully, when I’m working on my website I’m not really thinking about how it affects my career. For me, it’s more about the complete visual effect. Presentation is important. Something as simple as the wrong background color can ruin a photo’s impact, which is why I love full-paged print ads. That’s why each photo in my portfolio takes up the entire page, so there’s nothing to distract from the picture itself.
As for the impact of the web itself, if you’re a brand the web is one of the best successful ways to meet people, share talents, and gain inspiration. It’s a very basic idea.
In a lot of your shots, the model is looking at the viewer, creating a real feeling of connection. Do you have any tricks for getting that intense connection with the models you work with?
It’s about the relationships I create before I start taking pictures. I can’t just walk in and start clicking away, or those hard stares into the camera would seem contrived.
Quite a few of your shots are in black & white. Why are you drawn to that style?
Black and white has a way of portraying raw emotion better than tampered-with color, I have always really appreciated the impact of it.
What have you learned through your work that you wish you knew when you started shooting fashion photography?
Definitely the importance of a stylist and art director who can pull clothes and help come up with themes for a shoot. My creative strengths lie behind the camera and in editing; basically, the little details that turn a good photo into a great one. It really helps to have someone who sees the big picture.
You do retouching and music videos too, do you want to explore those paths more or is photography your main passion?
My passion is taking a moment that would otherwise be fleeting and giving it a lasting place in time, whether it is in a photograph or in a film. Retouching adds depth to photography that didn’t exist in the past. For me, all these different aspects are part of a whole. I wouldn’t want to pigeonhole myself as being ‘just a photographer.’ It’s about the vision in its entirety, and what will best capture each individual moment. So I cultivate any skill that will help me do that.
What projects are you working on right now?
Those are secrets ;)
If you could work with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I’d love to work with more classically beautiful models. I have an appreciation for real feminine beauty, kind of like the 40’s such as Natalia Vodianova or Barbara Palvin. Having the right model is a huge part of taking good photographs.