Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Brian Brigantti wants you to strip...yourself of your insecurities, your preconceived notions about portrait photography, and...sometimes your clothes.
Although it appears simplistic to take a portrait, there is a special quality that is lost if the photographer does not know how to capture not only the person, but the moment. One can clearly see that there is a significant difference between awkward school yearbook photos and the iconic works in magazines like Vogue or museums like the Guggenheim; a difference that we often attribute to the models, exotic locales, and the seemingly arbitrary designation that they are art.
However, upon closer examination, one quickly realizes that many of these amazing photos were shot in a studio, with normal people, in everyday locations.
“So many people can capture an image, with iPhones, everybody’s snapping photos nowadays, but it’s the connection that’s hard to achieve,”
Brigantti told Bait.
In Brigantti’s eyes, in order for a mere photo to become a portrait, a connection must be formed between the photographer and their subject.
The subject must trust the photographer in order to let them see their true self. This connection, this trust, is what distinguishes a photo from a portrait and a person who takes photos from a photographer.
It would normally seem cliché to hear a photographer declare that, “perspective is everything,” assuming that the perspective referenced is that of the photographer. However, if you’re shooting with Brigantti, the perspective that matters most is not that of the person behind the lens but that of the subject in front of it. Every photo shoot with Brigantti is first and foremost focused on “helping people love and appreciate themselves.”
Brigantti found himself through photography and uses his photography to help others find themselves too.
“I see people reclaim their lives in front of my lens”
A story all too familiar, Brigantti was raised in a conservative household, lacking support and accessible opportunities to explore his creative interests. Brigantti was born and raised in Illinois, but he seized opportunities to explore the world and himself, traveling to France, Italy, and Serbia on high school trips and attending college at San Francisco’s Academy of Art.
Upon graduating, Brian moved to New York and began developing his career in both the modeling and photography industries. Building upon the portfolio he started at the Academy, his work focuses on a minimalist style of naturalism - commonly displaying subjects in the nude. Brian’s portfolio consists primarily of nature and portrait photography, often a combination of the two - always grounded by a sense of intimacy.
As a mecca for art and design, New York facilitated much of Brigantti’s initial development as a photographer. Ironically, New York’s saturation of art and creativity was both the impetus that brought Brian to the Big Apple and the reason he recently left.
About a year ago, Brigantti was inspired to leave New York to bring his creative spark to the fringes of the creative world - rural Tennessee. Brigantti and his boyfriend relocated to a large tract of land in a small-town in Tennessee, where he is working on further developing his craft...and gardening skills.
Brigantti’s Tennessee homestead became his sandbox to design and test the limits of his art. "I learned during this time not just how to capture an image, but to show the world how to see it."
Brian often plays both the photographer and the subject in his
work. In this piece, for example, captured at his Tennessee homestead, Brigantti recounts running naked back and forth between the camera and the tree for the perfect shot. When was the last time you put a timer on the camera and ran a 200 meter dash in the nude?
Just as he often appears nude in his own self-portraits, Brigantti also encourages his subjects to appear nude to mirror the nature that often surrounds them, which we always see in its natural and naked form. With many of his photos featuring nude subjects in natural landscapes, Brigantti aims to illustrate how naturalism can be just as much of a forum for expression and self-determination, if not more so, than as a forum for the assumed sexuality that accompanies the state of being undressed.
Brigantti’s work evolved when he moved westward; like the pioneers, he explored nature and found tranquility among the quiet, rural roads. He is inspired by National Geographic photographers like Paul Nicklen to venture parts unknown and to be what he wants to see in the photography world: deeper connection with oneself and one’s subjects.
Brigantti provides something to society beyond beautiful photos; he strongly believes in helping people find their creative spark and appreciation for themselves. The authors of this article were so inspired by Brigantti’s artistic journey and self-love philosophy that they may just want to be his next clients...Who’s next?
While Brigantti maintains his residence in Tennessee, he continues to work in New York City and can be found at https://www.brianbrigantti.com/. Bookings can be made here for his photography. Please contact Brian directly if you are interested in purchasing prints from this exhibit.
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