Questioning against the will of social construct, Braden Summers creates some powerful imagery of portraits depicting same-sex couples from various countries. Unique vision with stellar crafty portraits shot with natural light & significant surrounding makes this project very interesting and a huge success. Through this photo-series Braden breaks the social boundaries and thereby focuses much on the idealization of same-sex couples. A humble photographer with a strong portfolio who loves to connect well and would feel honored for his photographs if they can spread the word love.
Portrait of Braden Summers
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Braden Summers, I hail from Tolland, Connecticut and currently reside in San Francisco, California. I have lived and traveled all over the world building up my skills as a photographer for the last decade. My goal is to inspire others with my unique take on what beauty is and how it affects the way in which we view the world.
How did you get into photography?
I have always been an artist, I grew up immersed in my drawing and painting. Shortly before college I took a photography class in high school and, no pun intended, it just sort of “clicked” for me. After spending a year at Boston University studying general education courses, I decided to transfer to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco to finish my college years as a photography major.
There is this absolute richness with killer emotions in your portraits. How do you go about it?
First of all, thank you. My work is narrative, for me to create an image I have an entire story before and after the single shot that I am striving to create. More often than not, I am relaying the entire sequence of events to my subjects that lead up to the moment in which they are “captured” in the image. Additionally, I never want my work to be abrasive; I want my viewers to want to dive into the scene that I have created, so it is important for my subjects to always have a softness to their expressions.
Few words on your recent project “All love is equal” How did the idea arrive?
ALL LOVE IS EQUAL is a photographic series that challenges the social construct of “iconic romance.” It is meant to call attention to the lack of commercial imagery that focuses on the idealization of same-sex couples. A large driving force behind creating this series was actually less about affecting the gay community directly, and more about giving the general population a way to relate to gay imagery which is devoid of sex, victimization, or banality – themes that might usually prevent some folks from connecting. The photographs are not documentations, they are dreamy illustrations of what open expressions of love in different cultures *could* look like in a future, more accepting time.
I came up with the idea for the project when I was living in Paris. I was shooting lots of romantic imagery when my boyfriend had suggested that I shoot a gay version. The resulting image of two men on a London bridge sparked the idea to shoot a whole series of these “iconic” photographs in different cultures worldwide.
My gear consisted of a 6′ x 6′ Westcott Scrim Jim reflector, my Canon 5d Mark iii and 2 lenses. All of the images were shot with available, natural light.
I am a pretty active gallery goer and draw inspiration from a lot of paintings. Some of my main artists and photographers that I admire are Tamara de Lempica, Egon Schiele, Erwin Olaf, Marilyn Minter, Alex Prager, Kees Van Dongen, Amadeo Modigliani, and Lucien Freud.
Your future dreams & goals?
Quite the lofty question! I hope to continue to collaborate with larger organizations that have aspirations of promoting equality – I have really loved feeling this connection to my queer community and would be honored to use my talent to spread other messages of love. I would also like to be more integrated within the luxury tourism and hospitality market as a photographer, shooting campaigns in different parts of the world. I think what ties my humanitarian efforts and my commercial aspirations together is my desire to get my viewers to dream about how beautiful the world is and can be through my photographs.
For Braden, What does it take to capture a good photograph & in your style how do you achieve it quite often?
I love discovering the subtle point when reality meets the surreal, so I look for interesting subjects, locations, and culture and bring them all together in a way that you probably wouldn’t see in your everyday life – but they all exist. There is so much pre-production, research, scouting, and “mood boards” involved before I ever touch a camera. I am always working with a crew and my own production skills to create an image as close to the vision I have in my head.
Any final thoughts or words of advice for young aspirants?
To become successful, above all you need to possess passion, persistence, and self confidence. I remember one of my first mentors telling me “It is going to take years longer than what you expect to get your career off the ground.” Trusting that his words were true sometimes was the only thing that kept me going and fighting and creating photographs.
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You can find Braden Summers on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Braden Summers. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.