Local Artist: Jeremy Bayliss
I’ve been running around lately trying to do different things. I am working on a video to promote Project Geek, did some shoots with some models, and been meeting new people and asking to take their portrait. One of these people was local artist Jeremy Bayliss. Jeremy is a illustrator creating portraits of either local people or celebrities. The great thing about Jeremy is he doesn’t look the part. If I had passed Jeremy on the street I would have thought outdoors man, hunter, maybe red neck, but artist? No way.
When you say someone is an artist your mind wants to go to some form of stereotype, some guy with long hair, trendy clothes, who talks about how painful life is. Jeremy is the exact opposite of that. His gallery/studio which is located in his home is out in the country. When I met Jeremy he was dressed for the next episode of Duck Dynasty with full long beard, ball cap, and camo. He asked me if he needed to change and I was like no way. I can’t stand pretentious portraits. You know those ones where people act and look in a way that is not them. I have always thought a portrait should reflect who you are, not just what you look like. So long beard, ball cap and camo is perfect.
Even though I was shooting this for myself as a means of getting out of my normal sphere of influence I treated this like I would for a client. The first picture I set up for was the “safe” picture. This is the one that is not exciting but it does the job. I have the artist with his art, you can clearly see his face, he looks friendly, etc., etc.. This is the same thing I do on assignments, get the shot that is safe and you know that the art director is going to be ok with. But if getting just what is safe is all I ever did then you could almost hire a monkey to do my job. So once I had that I wanted something that would me more dramatic.
Before I got to this however Jeremy asked if I could take a portrait of him with his family. I am a firm believer that whenever I’m photographing someone and they ask “Can I get a picture with…” I make sure to do it. One thing I have learned in life is that is unexpected. Sometimes those unexpected things can take from us opportunities or loved ones. As a photographer you never know when your photo will be the last one someone has made, so never pass up the chance to create a memory for yourself or someone.
With the family pictures secured I arranged my lights with Jeremy standing next to his art work again, except this time I went for a little more dramatic lighting set up. With light like this shadows are crossing the face in a way we don’t normally see in day to day life. Because of that it can seem dramatic and cause the viewer to pause to look at what is going on. In publication it may be the winning image for an art director or it may be to different to fit into the theme of their layout, which is why I shoot safe pictures first. I grabbed just a few pictures with this set up and then got out of Jeremy’s way. He was working on a private commission for a client and I didn’t want to hold him up any longer.
Be sure to check out Jeremy’s gallery on Facebook, become a fan, order some art, as I understand it 100% of his art sales goes to feed hungry children….his hungry children.
Till next time…