Saturday, June 11, 2011
Barron Claiborne: Saints, Beauties and Goddesses
Posted by Jay at 7:18 AM
It's not easy to create a great photograph. Even when you're lucky enough to get celebrities to sit for you, you still have to get the right combination of equipment, lighting and concept that is suitable for your subject. When you have all of those, you get a good picture, but when you add another layer of creativity, you get a really great photograph. That last layer seems to be what photographer Barron Claiborne always has in his portraiture work.
Mr. Claiborne is a self taught photographer who has photographed celebrities and politicians since the 1990s. His best known work is probably that of the portrait of The Notorious B.I.G. (above). This was one of the rapper's last formal portrait shoots before his untimely death.
While Mr. Claiborne has an impressive portfolio of advertising and editorial clients, it's his portraiture and artistic work that really stands out. He has a number of interesting projects that show of his creativity in the use of special camera equipment for his photo shoots.
Just like artist Chuck Close, Mr. Claiborne is able to achieve his style through his use of old photographic processes. He sometimes uses large format cameras and has also experimented with 8x10 Polaroid film. This experimentation gives some of his images a sepia or bronze like texture.
In his Saints project, he combines the symbols, rituals and familiar images of Christian and African beliefs into a beautiful series that pays homage to both sources while at the same time evokes questions in the viewer.
His Beauty series shows off true and stereotypical images of models in very white and sometimes blown-out light. The images are miles apart from his other predominantly dark photographs.
In Goddesses, women are placed on a pedestal and against an intricate wall mural. They are nude save for a few accessories as if signify that their physical beauty is one, if not the only reason that they are held in such a high regard.
This kind of style can also be found in his portraiture work as well, although what really gives his images that special edge over other photographers are the expressions that he is able to coax out of his subjects. These images would work whether they were taken with a modern full frame DSLR or an old large format camera.
Barron Claiborne hasn't yet published a collection of his works, but be sure to check out more of his large format photography over at his website.