Monday, November 7, 2011

Neon Fix Artist Spotlight: Photographer Bryan Taylor Johnson

"Allow Him To Shift Your Paradigm"

Tinisee Buckman
Bryan Taylor Johnson is a photographer with a vision and purpose. My first impression of Bryan Taylor Johnson (BTJ) was that “This is a cool guy with dope swag.” I believe I first met BTJ with team Neon Fix at a club in Soho.  Months later I got word that he wanted to book the team’s hair/makeup crew for a shoot in Brooklyn.
      During the shoot I knew that this man was the “Real Deal”.  We have been working with BTJ for months now, and the quality of our joint efforts keeps getting better.  This is a photographer who knows how to follow though with his vision. I, Tinisee Buckman (TB) also had the pleasure of interviewing BTJ for Neon Fix Artist Spotlight, and invite you to share in the details of said interview.

TB: How old are you?

BTJ:  26

TB: Where are you originally from?

BTJ: Baltimore, Maryland

TB: Where do you currently reside?


TB: What are you passionate about?

BTJ: Photography… When I am bored I would rather photograph a client and retouching my images. I also enjoy writing poetry.

TB: What is your favorite quote?

BTJ:  "Work hard for your dreams, or you will work hard for someone who works for theirs."  --Katoriae Brown

Ammo Magazine
TB: What is a fashion photographer in your opinion?

BTJ:  Painting a canvas, advertising the model and the clothing in an admirable light.

TB: So what makes your photography stand out from others?

BTJ: What makes my work stand out is the direction I give. I specialize in body molding. I pose my models and show them how to model. I started working initially with minorities: preparing them for the industry, developing their book and getting them signed up to the top modeling agencies.

Teirra Marie

I think that majority of agencies don’t take the time to develop their models anymore.  They want them to come in as a 'Fresh Face', although expect the models to know how to work and move. Aspiring models come all over the US/World, and they have everything it takes to be a model with the exception of knowing how to model. I understand that the models need training, and agencies are making them work with photographers while they have little to no experience.
It is not the photographer’s duty to train new recruits, but I do.  I show my clients how to move in front of the camera. Educating them key points and helping them understand that is not about being posy, but how to be natural, realistic and advertise their ensembles. I teach my models how to make shapes with their bodies; giving them techniques they will keep forever. Another reason my photography stands out is the post-production aspect of my work. I don’t just shoot models and give them regular material,  I “GO IN” to make sure that they walk away with what can be an editorial or campaign. So when they put my work in their book and present it to an agent, they are advertised respectively as client material. I also don’t do test shoots like most photographers seem to practice. 

Singer: KissiB. (Katoriae Brown)
TB: A modern day “Model Whisperer” really shows in your finish products.  “Allow me to shift your paradigm” is your mission statement. What does that mean?

BTJ: To “shift your paradigm” means having the ability to step out of yourself and change your perspective of an individual. For example when you look at a girl who’s poor, and think to your self “she’s lazy unable to find a job”. Without knowing why this might be so may not justify your perception. However, if you allow yourself to shift your paradigm and see the other side, you end up finding out more about the person, and you experience a change in your perception(s), i.e., a paradigm shift, if you will. I allocate this shift in paradigm to my photography as I step out of myself to find the inner beauty of each individual model. I can not only shoot the typical model but the atypical. I find the key qualities that make my models beautiful and shoot to project that! 

Bryan Taylor Johnson
TB: What was your first taste of the industry before you took photography as a full-time job?

BTJ: My first taste of the industry was when I began in New York City. While in under-grade, attending Morgan State University, (Baltimore, MD)., I came to NYC to pursue my dreams as a fashion model. After graduating, I moved to NYC when I was 23 to peruse my dreams.I enjoy modeling, although it wasn't as financially beneficial as I desired. After leaving Corporate America (FDIC), I couldn't bare getting a job in retail or being a waiter. Thus, I wanted to become financially afloat in another field I was pursing--fashion photography. My clientele began to build immensely. I began photographing women initially.  When I started shooting men I found that the production was a lot quicker and easier.

TB: Would you say that molding your models gives you the upper hand because you were a model before?
Bryan Taylor Johnson

BTJ: Modeling definitely has given me an upper hand in the business.  I know what it’s like to be a model. I know how tired they can get. I know how weak their faces can become after shooting over 300 slides. As a photographer, I have compassion for my models. I  can relate to them, illustrating and letting them know it is ok to relax, and take a short break--enabling them to execute the shoot to the best of their abilities. 
Modeling did help immensely. When I came to NYC as a model I started work immediately and began establishing my name as a brand. The character building helped me circulate professionally and gain the trust and good-will necessary in my profession

TB: How would you describe Bryan Taylor Johnson in a few words?

BTJ:  Bryan Taylor Johnson is an entrepreneur, a wonderful friend and a great business man. 

TB: What is your personal style?

BTJ:  My personal style is European with a New York edge. For the winter give me some combat boots, skinny jeans and an over-sized sweater. For the summer: gladiator sandals, some nice jean shorts (cuffed), and anything from a blazer,T-shirt to a tank top with a fedora.  

TB: What is something that no one knows about you that you would like to share?

BTJ:  I’m pretty much an open book. What I would love to share publicly is that, I care about my models. I care about their image. "Your image, is my image"--Bryan Taylor Johnson

TB: Would you say that you are a fashionable person?

BTJ:  Yes! I am a very fashionable guy. I consider myself a fashionable gentleman.

TB: Who are your top 5 designers?

BTJ: I love every designer whose design catches my eye.

TB: What makes a Bryan Taylor Production?

BTJ:  It would be my awesome team! My wonderful makeup artist: Tinisee Buckman; my right hand man, sytlist and designer, Marc Clark; as well as my loyal assistants.
Stylist Marc Clark, Karina Bradley, and BTJ

TB: What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
BTJ: My legacy would be leaving the world with lasting and impressionable portraits--images that will keep forever. I want to leave behind “art work” that will be framed so people can cast their dreams in  my work.

TB: What would you say is your weakness?
BTJ:  More money for a larger production.

TB: What is the next step for Bryan Taylor Johnson Photography?
BTJ:The next step for Bryan Taylor Johnson Photography is the course that my company is taking. I'm currently shifting my target market. I want to continue working with celebrities, brands, campaigns and advertising companies. 

TB: Who are your some of your photography idols, and what makes you a fan of their work?
                Bruce Weber                                                                  David LaChappelle                                                                     Steven Klein                                         Steven Meisel                                                                                   
BTJ: Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, David LaChapelle and Bruce Weber.
I appreciate Bruce Webber’s naturalism in his style of art. He has a way of capturing beauty in an easy and glorifying light. I think Steven Meisel post production is BONKERS. He creates 16 Century painting. I study the layers that he uses. It reminds me of Mariah Carry who is one of my favorite singers. When you have a certain craft you have to figure out a way how people can’t mimic you. People can’t mimic Mariah because she records so many layers making it nearly impossible for other artists to imitate. Steven Meisel, Steven Klein and all the great photographers do the same thing in their post-production; creating one-of-a-kind photography you can’t imitate no matter how hard you try. That is how I also do my work.  I create so many layers to get the look that I want.    

From Grace, With Love(Vogue Italia, 2011)
TB: What is an ad campaign that you would want to shoot?
BTJ: I would love to shoot for D&G because they push the bar.  Their ads are like paintings. D&G reminds me of the time I went to The Luve in Paris a couple of years ago. As I admired the portraits it really inspired me to want to create timeless pieces of my own.

TB: What are some encouraging words that you can give to young photographers starting out? 

BTJ: Never stop going for your dreams…What I say to my interns who are aspiring photographers “WAKE UP, STUDY, AND EXECUTE!!”
TB:Neon Fix Cares is a Non Profit Organization that assists women with low self-esteem to appreciate the Value of Vanity. How in your own way can you spread the value of Positive Vanity, Bryan?

BTJ: My way of expressing positive vanity would be this: photograph yourself at least twice a year. Remind yourself how beautiful you are. I think women should take the time to pamper and treat themselves.

Bryan Taylor is a man with a vision and a purpose. With his career taking flight the sky is the limit for his undeniable talent. As time progress, his work will only become more admirable... So ladies and gentlemen, buckle
- up because
Bryan Taylor Johnson is about to 'Shift Your Paradigm.'

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