James Lee sits down with former East Coaster, turned West Coast Portrait Photographer, Justen Rosenberg! Justin is primarily a portrait photographer, who also shoots corporate and commercial work with a bit of landscape thrown in for good measure. Ten Year’s Sober, but he doesn’t see that as a crutch but rather helps show duality within his photography, that he can be both happy and sad at the same times. But it is not only in his photography that it helps; it helps him as a human also. It isn’t embarrassing, and he is open with this to help his own healing and help others who are going through the same journey as others have been with him in the past to help him out. While his corporate work is heavily structured, his portrait work is incredibly experimental and helps the models open up and feel comfortable. But he’s not about only looking good and making pretty photos. There’s always something more. More is a little nebulous and hard to define. But it isn’t the mechanical hitting the seven ‘must-have’ shots; it’s about getting the subject more than understanding the gear. It’s about the subject, building a rapport with them rather than you (the photographer) and what you want. You have to take the ego, your ego, out of the equation. Of course, that is harder than it looks, especially when someone is willing and offering to pay for your work. And it has been a journey since then, from landscapes to horrible portraits, more and more whatever the day brings. Into shows and moved into a bit of a dark end of society. Then drugs entered into the picture, which resulted in moving to California to enter rehab; which after the rehab learned, Justin knew his way around the camera and welcomed him into the non-profit ad agency attached to the clinic, which leads him to get sober and being brought on to run the photography side of the agency. Today his style is highly experimental, with plenty of films and digital with even a mix of instant work. And the film doesn’t slow him down; it actually speeds him up in the sense that he can shoot a handful of rolls and end up with only forty-odd photos to go through, which is faster to edit rather than the thousands of digital images. The two things that Justin does suggest to aspiring commercial or folks looking to get into any photography as a source of income first is to learn the business; second, learn how to be a good person and talk to people.
By the end of the episode, both James and Justin realised that they are, in fact, the same person.
You can follow along with Justin’s amazing work over on his Instagram Account – @jsrphotos
Want a subscription to SilverGrain Classics and are a fan of Classic Camera Revival? Visit their shop online and buy a magazine or a subscription? Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). Out West there’s Kerrisdale Cameras (BC), The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), buyfilm.ca (Ontario), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic. Looking for development options, check out these labs that have our support, Boréalis Photo Lab, Old School Photo Lab, The Darkroom, and Film Rescue International.