Entertaining Interview With Chris Berns Male Model Photographer
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: Love to! I especially like to talk about technique and get really situational with other photographers kinda like … so what would you do if …. type stuff. I also love swapping crazy “on location” stories.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: Equivalent to that of a fruit fly :)
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: I don’t recall making a decision to become a photographer – it just happened that way. Photography served a business need and it quickly evolved from a means to an end to the foundation of our whole business. Very Cool how stuff like that can happen if you let it!
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: Well, I’m a pretty technical photographer and am really into angles, settings and light – so the photography it’s self is doesn’t mean all that much – but – it’s the relationships I’ve developed because of the photos that means the world to me.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: Yes, I was an understudy with one of my mentors and renowned portrait photographer “Bob Lamb” up in MI a few years back. The WOW shot was with a model named “DJ” taken with a simple white screen and simple flash.
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: I majored in psychology in college and I swear I use my psychology degree on the set way more than any photography training I’ve received. But no, most of my training was done by contacting photographers I admired and asking to shoot with them and by reading a ton of photography books. To be honest – this is the type of training I look for when I hire photographers – the self taught ones are usually the most passionate about what they shoot – just an observation on my part.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: 90% Technical / 10% Creative. We get our shots through settings and angles, but I’ve always admired the creative guys .. It’s just not how I shoot.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: I do everything I can to get the shot up front … It’s not that I have an issue with cropping (or any other post edits) it’s just that I don’t have the patience to sit in front the computer for hours after the shoot – much rather be at the bar with the models :)
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: I live in shoot in the south east mostly because of proximity to the beach and ocean. However, I can’t say I have a favorite place to shoot – whether we are on a roof top in Chicago or on a runway in Vancouver – we love to push ourselves to find challenging and exciting new places to shoot our male models.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: That’s too deep for me. Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty :)
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: “Say Cheese” LOL
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I don’t think I experience a personality change when I shoot, but shooting does require me to be more focused and attentive then when I am say .. driving .. haha.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: Never, Never let them get you down. A photo was mean to be or it wasn’t. I believe that fully.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: No. I look at other photographers work and admire and try to learn from them and I I don’t keep secrets about mine, meaning I always share and try to teach other photographers that want to learn. With paying Clients I offer full cash back if they are not overwhelmed by the shots .. and I don’t accept payment until the sets are done. So by approaching my work this way.. I really don’t worry about failure.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: I mentioned Bob Lamb earlier and have always been a big fan of Bruce Webber.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: I really don’t have a favorite. Each published shot brings back memories (some good and some not so good) and that makes every shot invaluable to me.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: Well .. sunrise on the east coast is a fabulous time to shoot on the beach so there are many days when we are up before dawn. I tend to work in cycles where I do nothing but shoot models on location for two to three weeks at a time and then spend two to three weeks back in my office running and growing our male modeling business.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: Letting go and delegating. For the business to grow the way it needs too over the next few years – I need to get a handle on this.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Well, I love to learn and I’ve noticed that since I started shooting professionally that I am not spending as much time learning new techniques. So not having the time I used too to learn and experiment is probably the biggest obstacle so far.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Male Models.
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: I was in a food court in a tacky (and crowded) strip mall in St. Augustine, FL. going through photos with a male model on a laptop. I notice he stared to tear up after the second or third shot. By the end of the set he had me in tears too. That there goes in the funniest, most touching and most bizarre categories. Thank god the video guys weren’t around or that would be on youtube for sure ..
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A:I do get board with some of the repetitive poses and stuff, but there are so many talented people out there doing amazing things – inspiration is usually not far. Also, the models themselves can be a great source of inspiration. They are all so unique and by getting to know their hobbies, strengths, etc. you can tailor the shoot to the model. This helps me a lot.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Assignments that get the adrenalin pumping or that require us to really be strategic attract me (ie: outside of the studio and on location) – The high paying gigs tend to attract me too :)
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: Not much at all to be honest.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: holistic, technical, fabulous, fun
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A:To this day i’m still surprised by the stunningly beautiful male model who look at a stunningly beautiful photograph of themselves and get embarrassed. If I had a body like some of these male models, I’d be posting those shots all over the web :)
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: Oh Please .. There’s a two drink minimum for secrets!!
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: Well, I have some plans in the next few months that I can’t talk about: ( Just keep an eye on http://www.acemalemodels.com
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: I would have been a little less self critical at first. Once I learned that photos are meant to be (or not) things got so much easier …
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: Free Speech. They are well within their rights and are obviously providing a service that is in demand. I say good for them ..
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: What ever it take to get the result your client wants. For me personally, digital manipulation means for more work and more work mean less fun – so … I do everything to get the shot right up front.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: I just want to publicly express my gratitude to my mentors, friends, family and amazing male models who helped me get the ACEMALE MODELS & ACEBOY Studio off the ground. I know that with good people around – there are simply no limits to what we can achieve.