JEFF BROWN developed his cinematic, stylized look as a student at Parsons. He wanted his work to stand out at a time when flat, desaturated images are the rage, and also emphasize what he sees as photography’s artifice. By photographing his subjects this way, he says, “You can see them look as they’d never look in front of your face.”
His work impressed the photo editors he met at a Parsons portfolio review, but those connections took a long time to bear fruit. After graduation he worked as a digital tech for a catalogue house; assisted; shot assignments for Overflow, a local magazine edited by a friend; and pursued personal projects. In 2012, Clinton Cargill of The New York Times Magazine contacted him out of the blue to find out what he’d been up to since graduation. Brown said he was busy remaking his portfolio; “I fibbed,” he admits. Over the next three weeks he updated his website, portfolio and business cards. His meeting with The Times Magazine photo staff led to assignments and referrals to other editors.
After she noticed Brown’s work on Instagram, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Alis Atwell hired him to apply his hot-light look both to portraits (including a photo of a Queen Elizabeth lookalike) and to food shots inspired by old cookbooks. “There’s something vintage about his work,” she explains. “It seems much more alive in a way that other people’s work is not.” He continues to add both still-life and portrait work to his portfolio.
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