Brooklyn-based photographer Brandon St. Jean has a natural affinity for photographing portraiture. His journey into medium format has allowed him to capture a range of styled portraits, all of which shine with sharpness and elegance. Needless to say, they immediately caught our attention, and we wanted to learn more about his work. We present his recent collections taken on Lomography Color Negative 120 ISO 400 and Color Negative 120 ISO 800 120 films, and our conversation with him below!
Hi Brandon, welcome to the Lomography community! May you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey there! I’m a 27-year old Haitian-American artist born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I’ve always had a creative urge in me since I was a kid. It started out trying to draw and paint and eventually evolved into the medium that I primarily use now.
What got you into film photography? And how has your relationship with it developed?
Film photography was always intimidating to me. Although I had point and shoot film cameras in my youth, picking up the format again was tough. I think it was because I was spoiled by the surge of DSLR cameras. Seeing a photo instantly on the screen was addicting and helpful for me. My editing style always favored the film aesthetic, and I admired the look so much it eventually had me tiptoe-ing around the idea of picking up film again. I started dabbling with point and shoots film cameras around 2019, but I didn’t start taking it serious until the pandemic hit and I decided to pick up a Mamiya RZ67. Now, I'm learning a whole lot about different film stocks and I'm at the point of scanning my own film at home. The next step for me would be to start developing my own rolls of film.
What attracts you to shoot portraits?
I’ve always had a growing passion for portraiture. Although I consider myself a versatile artist, portraits feel like my foundation. My goal is to create timeless pieces of art that will last lifetimes, where even kids in 100 years can look back and be inspired. A portrait is a powerful piece of art that can hold so much emotion. My love of portraiture has aided me in exploring the realm of editorials which is a current love that I have.
Working with models requires a lot of communication and trust. How do you approach creating this relationship?
Having a great deal of professionalism plays a huge role in. Sharing a concept in detail and getting their thoughts on it also helps a lot. A good way to ease the tension is to bring somebody along on the shoot, whether it’s a friend of the model or someone on the team of creatives; like a stylist or makeup artist. If they have a friend on the shoot, it would make them feel comfortable they have someone to talk to on a personal level.
What’s your take on Lomography films? Do they complement your style?
I started shooting on Lomography film at the start of 2022, I was recommended to the film stock by Dom of Photodom NYC. The price of Lomography film with the quality given was a no brainer to give it a go. Since then, I've been able to try out Lomography's Color Negative 400 & 800 on my shoots and I’ve loved the results. It does colors really well and it blends into my style flawlessly. I have noticed that light leaks tend to happen a little more often, but it doesn’t bother me too much since I actually like the leaks at times…it adds more character to the photographs.
Top 3 must-have items to bring to a shoot?
A light meter, a music speaker, and a camera haha.
Do you have any advice for beginner photographers looking to build their creative vision?
I would say to pull in all the inspiration you can get. You never know what can get you going. I’ve pulled in concepts just by playing video games, watching movies, and even listening to music. Studying other photographers' work is also a great way to understand and build on your vision.
What can we expect next from Brandon St. Jean?
A lot more creativity and more experiments. There’s a whole lot I have planned, I just hope that I'm able to find the time and funding to execute them all. There’s going to be some fun projects and work that inspires overall. I never want to take myself too seriously so having that balance is key to me.